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Ashwin leads Indian charge but Crawley's breezy 60 takes England lead past 150 at tea

England now lead by 166 runs, and they should thank opener Zak Crawley's 60 off 91 balls for adding a large chunk of runs.
Last Updated 25 February 2024, 09:35 IST

Ranchi: Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin worked his magic to take three wickets, while left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav struck twice as England went to tea at 120/5 on day three of the fourth Test against India here on Sunday.

England now lead by 166 runs, and they should thank opener Zak Crawley's 60 off 91 balls for adding a large chunk of runs.

Earlier, India were bowled out for 307 in their first innings as wicketkeeper batter Dhruv Jurel made a determined 90.

Starting with the new ball with Ravindra Jadeja at the other end, Ashwin was quick to exploit the widening cracks on the pitch and removed a tentative Ben Duckett (15) and out of sorts Ollie Pope (0) in successive deliveries.

But his prized scalp was that of Joe Root, the first-innings unbeaten centurion, who was dismissed for 11, adjudged leg before after an excellent review by India.

The ball pitched just on the line, leaving the Englishman frustrated but India did not mind to have England at 65 for three in quick time after conceding a first innings lead of 46 runs.

Thereafter, it was a show of Crawley who looked in ominous mood and took on the Indian attack against the run of play to stretch their overall lead past 150-mark.

India persisted with Ashwin and Jadeja and the attack looked too unidimensional for Crawley who smacked seven fours in the company of Ben Stokes, putting together a quick 45 off 67 balls.

Kuldeep, who bowled just 12 overs in the first innings, was finally brought in and he made his presence felt cleaning up the England dangerman in his third over.

The left-arm wrist spinner was at his deceptive best and bowled Crawley with a beauty that skidded through, unsettling the middle-stump.

Having survived an umpire's call, England skipper Ben Stokes was castled with the ball staying low as Kuldeep looked brilliant in his 5-1-10-2 spell.

Earlier, Jurel hit a resilient maiden fifty as India produced an incredible fightback to limit England’s first-innings lead before being dismissed at the stroke of lunch.

Following up his dogged 46 in his debut Test in Rajkot, Jurel produced a career-best 90, showing that he can soak in pressure with ease as India's long search for a wicketkeeper-batter seemed to be heading in the right direction.

After getting to his fifty from 96 balls, the Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batter quickly changed gears, taking the English spin duo of Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley to cleaners.

Jurel hurried for a single off Hartley to bring up his maiden fifty in Test cricket, in an innings of supreme composure.

Later Akash Deep put on an entertaining 40-run stand off just 75 balls for the ninth wicket with Jurel.

Dropped on 59 by Ollie Robinson, Jurel smacked Bashir for back-to-back four and six and raced to 90 from 149 balls before left-arm spinner Hartley denied him a well-deserved century by cleaning him up with a quicker delivery.

Young England offspinner Shoaib Bashir too completed his maiden Test five-wicket haul by trapping Akash Deep to return with the figures of 5 for 119 in his second Test.

Jurel found an able ally in Kuldeep Yadav who made 28 off 131 balls, in an innings of utmost grit and determination as the duo put together 76 valuable runs in the eighth wicket stand that brought the deficit under 100.

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(Published 25 February 2024, 09:35 IST)

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