Sunday, April 21, 2024

India turn the tables, sniff series victory


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India reach 40/0 at the end of Day 3 in pursuit of 192 after Ashwin, Kuldeep, and Jurel play crucial roles in fightback

Ranchi, Feb 25: Dhruv Jurel’s defensive chef-d’oeuvre found a perfect match in the destructive symphony of spin by fifer-man Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav as India seized decisive control of the fourth Test at the end of a dramatic third day here on Sunday.
India walked off at the stumps, having chiselled off 40 runs from the 192-run target without losing a wicket.
Rohit Sharma (24 batting) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (16 batting) would be confident of the team mustering the remaining 152 runs without much theatre.
However, it was Jurel who started India’s resistive movement with a defiant 90 that came in 149 balls and 211 minutes. It carried the hosts to 307 in their first innings from the overnight 219 for seven.In their second essay, England just did not have any answers to the questions posed by Ashwin (5/51), his 35th five-wicket haul in Tests, and Kuldeep Yadav (4/22), getting bowled out for a meagre 145.Opener Zak Crawley (60) was the lone post of fight.
It would have been worse for England without that Crawley fifty before his innings was halted by Kuldeep.Ravindra Jadeja bagged a solitary wicket but it was the key wicket of Jonny Bairstow.
In fact, Crawley was the only English batter to go past 30 as they lost their last seven wickets for just 35 runs with Ashwin and Jadeja weaving their magic.
Introduced late, the left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep struck in his third over when he cleaned up Crawley with a gem of a delivery that skidded through, unsettling the middle-stump.
Crawley was looking in an ominous mood and tore into the Indian attack against the run of play to stretch their overall lead past 150 as Rohit persisted with Ashwin and Jadeja in the second session.But Kuldeep breathed fire into the attack as he got drift and was at his deceptive best.Having survived through an umpire’s call, England skipper Ben Stokes was castled by Kuldeep with the ball staying low.
Bairstow looked in firm control in his 42-ball 30 (3×4) but fell in the first ball after tea when Jadeja exploited the cracks on the pitch to turn it away and the batter drove it straight to short cover.Kuldeep then dismissed Tom Hartley and Ollie Robinson in four balls, before Ashwin raced to his fifth wicket as stumper Dhruv Jurel took a brilliant reflex catch to oust James Anderson.In the process, Ashwin also became the highest wicket-taker at home for India. He now has 354 wickets from 59 Tests at home, overtaking Anil Kumble’s tally of 350 from 63 matches.But Jurel’s innings might just have ended India’s search for a wicketkeeper batter in Tests in the absence of recuperating Rishabh Pant.
The 23-year-old from Agra was not only terrific with his glovesmanship but exhibited oodles of maturity during that determined fifty as India mounted an incredible fightback, trimming England’s first-innings lead to a mere 46 runs.
After reaching his maiden fifty in 96 balls, the Rajasthan Royals’ wicketkeeper-batsman shifted gears, taking on English spinners. (PTI)


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