Dhruv Jurel Ashwin-Kuldeep give India upper hand as England stumble on Day 3 of Ranchi Test

Sunday’s cricket action at the Ranchi Test brought a massive turnaround as India staged a remarkable recovery to grasp control on Day 3 of the fourth Test against England. Young wicketkeeper-batsman Dhruv Jurel played a pivotal role with an outstanding knock of 90, which significantly trimmed the first innings deficit, setting the stage for spin wizards Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav who spun their magic to skittle out the English side for a meager 145. This disciplined display from the Indian bowlers has set a manageable target of 192 runs for the hosts.

The day commenced with India’s score at 219 for the loss of 7 wickets. Jurel, alongside Kuldeep Yadav, took charge of the proceedings in the morning session, adding a crucial 76 runs for the eighth wicket, demonstrating resilience against the English attack. Kuldeep showed he could be handy with the bat as well, contributing a patient 28 from 131 deliveries. But it was Jurel’s 90 off 149 balls that stood out as a potentially match-defining performance, propelling India to a first innings total of 307 all out in 103.2 overs. The English bowling lineup saw Shoaib Bashir claim a remarkable five-wicket haul in his debut, while Tom Hartley maintained his impressive series form with three wickets to his name.

The Indian bowling strategy was to exploit the spin-friendly conditions of the pitch, and the veteran duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took the new ball. Ashwin wasted no time troubling the English batsmen – he made crucial strikes removing Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope in quick succession during the fifth over of England’s second innings. The game, however, found equilibrium once again as Zack Crawley and Joe Root knitted together a 46-run partnership, giving England a glimmer of hope.

Nonetheless, that hope was short-lived as Ashwin struck a significant blow by claiming the prized wicket of Root in the 17th over. Post that dismissal, England’s batting lineup showcased minimal resistance, with partnerships proving hard to come by. Crawley battled on, notching up his third half-century of the series, but Ashwin and Kuldeep maintained relentless pressure, chipping away with timely wickets.

Eventually, it was Ashwin who put the final nail in the coffin, clinching the last two wickets to secure his record-equalling 35th five-for in Test cricket. Kuldeep’s remarkable figures of four for 22 were equally instrumental in dismantling England’s batting, and Jadeja contributed with a wicket as well.

With a modest target in sight, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal displayed a positive intent, concluding the day’s play unscathed at 40 for no loss in eight overs. India now stands on the cusp of victory, requiring only 152 more runs with all ten wickets intact, as they enter Day 4 with a substantial advantage.

As the day concluded with the hosts in a dominant position, the focus turned to the imminent chase on Monday. With an impregnable opening pair at the crease, India will seek to swiftly knock down the remaining runs and seal the game. England, on the other hand, faces an uphill task to conjure a miraculous turnaround in a match that seems to be sliding out of their grasp.

The day’s events have catapulted India into a commanding situation, thanks largely to Jurel’s tenacious inning and the clinical spin attack led by Ashwin’s expertise. The Ranchi crowd will be eager to see if India can consolidate their grip on the match and drive home the advantage as the fourth day’s play unfolds.

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