IND vs ENG: Ben Duckett-led bazball charges England to dominant position on Day 2

The drama of Test cricket unfolded on Day 2 of the third Test match between India and England in Rajkot, where the visitors rose to the occasion, thanks primarily to the exploits of opener Ben Duckett. England, responding to India’s substantial first innings score, ended the day with an authoritative 207/2, with Duckett’s exhilarating 88-ball hundred being the highlight of the day’s play.

Friday’s play commenced with the hosts resuming their innings at 326/5. Despite losing wickets in quick succession, India pushed the score to 445 all out, setting a challenging target for the England side. India’s star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who began the day with a steady century under his belt, added only a dozen runs before being sent back to the pavilion by England’s captain Joe Root. His departure didn’t slow India’s momentum, as debutant Dhruv Jurel and the savvy spin all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin forged a 77-run partnership that took India past the 400-run mark.

Jadeja’s innings, a crafted 112 off 225 balls, laid the foundation for India’s total, while Jurel’s maiden Test innings showed promise and patience. Ashwin played his part, but it was Jasprit Bumrah’s late cameo, a quick 26 off 28 balls, that ensured India maximized their effort with the highest total of the series thus far.

For England, Mark Wood led the bowling attack with pace and precision, claiming 4 wickets. The young spin talent Rehan Ahmed also made an impact with two crucial wickets, displaying poise beyond his years.

The visitors’ turn at the crease began on a striking note, with Duckett taking center stage with his lightning-fast century. The brand of cricket he exhibited was in line with the aggressive approach popularly termed ‘Bazball’, much to the delight of the England supporters. Alongside him, other England batsmen including Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, and Jonny Bairstow are expected to continue building on the solid foundation laid out. Ben Stokes, the captain, and Ben Foakes are yet to bat but are known for their resilience and potential to steer England to a strong position.

England’s playing XI lineup, with the inclusion of James Anderson and the aforementioned Wood and Ahmed, suggests a balanced blend of experience and youthful exuberance. Their bowling department, once India’s second innings comes, will be vital in determining the end result of this closely contested Test match.

This high-stakes game also saw career milestones being reached, as Ravichandran Ashwin joined an elite list of bowlers by completing 500 Test wickets. Meanwhile, England’s unusual start to their batting with 5 penalty runs on the board has sparked conversations and explanations about the intricacies of cricketing rules.

India fielded a strong team, led by Rohit Sharma, featuring promising talents like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, and Sarfaraz Khan, alongside the experienced Jadeja, Ashwin, Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj. Despite some solid performances, they will be wary of the position England has maneuvered into and will look to counteract it with strategic bowling and field placements on the upcoming day of play.

Off the field, former England captain’s allegations against Ashwin for running on the pitch have stirred up debate, however, they are unlikely to overshadow the on-field action as the game progresses.

With the series delicately poised and both teams demonstrating their capabilities, fans can anticipate a thrilling continuation to the Test. The match delicately hangs in the balance, leaving cricket enthusiasts around the world eagerly awaiting the outcome as Day 3 approaches. Stay tuned for more updates from this riveting encounter.

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