India vs England: Ben Duckett hits scintillating ton in strong reply from tourists in third Test

February 16, 2024

Ben Duckett smashed a scintillating 88-ball century as England reached 207-2 in reply to India's 445 on day two of the third Test in Rajkot.

Duckett, who finished the day unbeaten on 133, claimed the record for the fastest Test ton by an Englishman in India as he scored his third Test century - the tourists batting positively to trail the hosts by 238 at stumps.

India had earlier added 119 runs to their overnight score of 326-5, with debutant Dhruv Jurel (46) and Ravichandran Ashwin (37) leading the lower-order resistance with a 77-run stand for the eighth wicket.

England started the day positively with James Anderson (1-61) removing Kuldeep Yadav (4) and Joe Root (1-70) dismissing centurion Ravindra Jadeja (112).

The tourists then began their first innings on 5-0 after the hosts were hit with a five-run penalty because Ashwin ran on the protected area of the pitch while batting during the first session.

Ashwin later joined the 500-wicket club in Tests, the second-fastest to get there (behind Muttiah Muralitharan), when he had opener Zak Crawley (15) caught at short fine leg off a top edge, snapping England’s 84-run opening stand.

The 37-year-old withdrew from the rest of the Test after the close of play due to a family medical emergency, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), saying in the statement: "In these challenging times, the BCCI and the team fully supports Ashwin.

"The BCCI extends its heartfelt support to the champion cricketer and his family. The health and well-being of the players and their loved ones are of utmost importance. The board requests respect for the privacy of Ashwin and his family as they navigate through this challenging time."

England stay loyal to Bazball

England's five penalty runs to start their innings were awarded during the 102nd over of India’s first innings when Ashwin ran onto the protected area of the pitch while batting. India had already received a warning on the first day when Jadeja ran on the same region.

Duckett perfectly encapsulated the liberating formula of Bazball when he drove Mohammed Siraj (1-54) down the ground for four to bring up his ton by the 26th over which included 19 fours and one six.

In India's desperation for a second wicket after Ashwin had snared Crawley, Rohit Sharma opted to employ the short-ball tactic late on, which saw Ollie Pope (39) take a blow on his helmet from Siraj before falling lbw to the Indian quick two balls later.

It was initially given not out on the field by umpire Joel Wilson but, after a passionate appeal, Rohit took the decision upstairs which showed Pope was struck above the knee roll with the ball hitting leg-stump, bringing an end to a 93-run partnership for the second wicket.

Root (9no) then batted cautiously to ensure England would not lose another wicket in the evening session as he shared an unbeaten 25-run stand with Duckett as the game remains tantalisingly poised.

Debutant Jurel helps India to respectable total

Earlier, Anderson made a breakthrough within 15 minutes of play on day two as he claimed his 696th Test wicket when Yadav nicked behind to Ben Foakes.

Jadeja departed in the next over, unable to build on his century after he was caught and bowled by Root, leaving India 331-7.

There was a sense England could generate a morning collapse when debutant Jurel came to the crease but the 23-year-old added lower-order impetus to frustrate the tourists.

Jurel (46) and Ashwin (37) put on a 77-run partnership to take India past the 400 mark and made England pay for dropping the debutant twice on 32, first by Pope at mid-wicket and then Ben Stokes at leg-slip.

Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed (2-85) broke the partnership when he had Ashwin caught at mid-on and Jurel, adding 14 runs after England’s mistakes, edged behind to Foakes.

Mark Wood (4-114) mopped up the tail when he trapped Jasprit Bumrah (26) lbw, leaving Siraj (3) stranded at the non-striker's end.

Ashwin dedicates 500th Test wicket to his father

Ravi Ashwin, after taking his 500th Test wicket:

"It has been quite a long journey.

"I'd like to dedicate the 500th wicket to my father. He has been through the thick and thin of everything I've been through in my life... he has been a constant support for me.

"500 wickets is done and dusted now. We've got a game hanging in the balance."

Wood: Duckett was amazing to watch

England fast bowler Mark Wood speaking on TNT Sports:

"When you have done all that toil with the ball, you then see that class with the bat.

"India were not sure of their fields. It was amazing to watch from Duckett. In the nets we are trying to get him to leave one ball. He doesn't leave many!"

Follow over-by-over text commentary from the third Test between India and England, in Rajkot, live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.45am on Saturday (first ball at 4am).

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