Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Duckett hundred puts India under pressure as England race to 207/2 at stumps on day 2


Rajkot: Ben Duckett’s power-packed hundred overshadowed R Ashwin’s monumental feat as England thrived on their belligerent Bazball tactic to reach 207/2 at stumps on day two and put India under pressure in the third Test here on Friday.

Ashwin dismissed Zak Crawley (15) in the final session to join Anil Kumble as the second Indian, and fifth overall, to take 500 wickets in Test history.

But India’s struggles to contain England’s fearless and enterprising batters persisted as Duckett raced to his third Test hundred off only 88 balls.

England have already wiped off a chunk of their first innings deficit and trail India by 238 runs going into day three. India ended up with 445 in their first innings.

At one stage, Duckett even flirted briefly with the prospect of breaking Gilbert Jessop’s record from 1902 for fastest Test ton (77 balls) for his country.

Duckett peppered the field with powerful strokes all around the ground, hitting 21 fours and two sixes to reach 133 not out from only 118 balls. Joe Root was at the other end on nine.

Ashwin struck immediately after his introduction into the attack to send Crawley packing, with the batter gift-wrapping his wicket to help the Indian spinner complete his milestone.

On an innocuous delivery from around the wicket, Crawley managed a connection that ballooned towards Rajat Patidar at short fine leg.

Patidar only had to make a few paces on his left to grab the ball over his shoulder as each of Ashwin’s teammates rushed to celebrate the feat.

The diminutive England opener Duckett, who looked a tad tentative outside the off-stump before the tea break, came out all guns blazing to bring up his first fifty of the tour, in just 39 balls with 11 hits to the fence.

The introduction of spin did slow down Duckett’s pace for a short while, but he hit the top gear quickly to keep the Indian bowlers under pressure.

A pivotal moment came in the 21st over from Bumrah in his second spell with the Indian spearhead nailing a perfect yorker.

With his front foot out of the way, it appeared on the first instance that the ball crashed into the wickets.

Jurel partnered with Ashwin (39) to add 77 runs for the eighth wicket which pushed India past the 400-run mark while also steadying the ship after centurion Ravindra Jadeja (112) and Kuldeep Yadav (4) fell early.

Bumrah (28) and Siraj (3) did their best in keeping England out on the park for longer with a quick 30-run stand from 42 balls.


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