4Th Test: India Reach 40/0 In Pursuit Of 192 After Ashwin, Kuldeep, And Jurel Play Crucial Roles In Fightback (Ld)


(MENAFN- IANS) Ranchi, Feb 25 (IANS) In the pursuit of 192 for a series win, India reached 40/0 in eight overs at stumps on day three of the fourth Test against England at the JSCA International Stadium on Sunday, which saw Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Dhruv Jurel play crucial roles in leading the fightback for the hosts.

India still need 152 to win the fourth Test, with two days still left in the match. Captain Rohit Sharma made great use of full and overpitched deliveries from Tom Hartley to hit four boundaries and be 24 not out, as the England spinner's inexperience with the new ball showed.

Meanwhile, Yashasvi Jaiswal swept Joe Root easily to be unbeaten on 16 as India walked off with smiles on their faces. India began Day Three with 134 runs behind England's first innings score with just three wickets in hand. But Jurel and Kuldeep (28 off 131 balls) shared a crucial 76-run stand for the eighth wicket to help the hosts fight back in the match.

Though Kuldeep later became James Anderson's 698th Test scalp, Jurel, playing just his second Test, survived a caught-out chance on 59 and shifted gears well to be India's top-scorer with a terrific 90 off 149 balls.

England had a first innings lead of 46, but Ashwin wreaked havoc with the new ball to pick his 35th five-wicket haul in Tests via a splendid 5-51. Ably supporting him was Kuldeep taking 4-22, while Ravindra Jadeja had a scalp to his name.

In the morning, Jurel impressed everyone with his compact batting and judicious shot selection, while exhibiting a calm temperament, application and maturity in taking the team out of trouble in challenging conditions. Though he missed out on a maiden Test century by 10 runs, Jurel's knock, laced with six fours and four sixes, helped India cross 300 and narrow the deficit to just 46.

Jurel and Kuldeep were watchful at the start when England took the second new ball. Jurel got going with a lovely straight drive off Ollie Robinson, followed by Kuldeep driving Bashir square off the wicket for another boundary. But in a bid to defend off Anderson, Kuldeep inside-edged to his front foot and the ball rolled over to hit the stumps.

Jurel marched forward to get his maiden Test fifty with a single through mid-on off Hartley, and from there he began his attacking show. He swept Hartley with ease for four and survived being out on 59 when Bashir spilt a catch at mid-wicket off Anderson.

Bashir came under attack by Jurel, who lofted and muscled him for two sixes and a four. He was also taken for a six over mid-wicket by Akash Deep, but Bashir had the last laugh by trapping the batter LBW after surviving a stumping appeal, to get his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.

Jurel then pulled and smacked Hartley for six and four respectively, but was clean bowled by Hartley, who got one to angle in and spin past the outside edge to hit the stumps. Ben Duckett began England's second innings by smashing a four each off Ashwin and Jadeja.

But Ashwin removed him and Ollie Pope on consecutive balls in the fifth over to rattle England. While Duckett was caught at forward short leg, Pope was trapped LBW when the ball straightened and hit his back pad right in front of the leg stump. It gave Ashwin scalps number 350 and 351, thus surpassing Anil Kumble to become India's leading Test wicket-taker on home soil.

Crawley launched a counterattack by using his reach to good effect and getting to the pitch of the ball to drive on both sides of the wicket with ease. But Ashwin got his third wicket in the 17th over when he found a turn to beat Joe Root's inside edge and trap him lbw for 11.

Crawley marched to his 13th fifty in Tests and third of the ongoing series, coming off 72 balls. But Kuldeep removed him for 61 off 90 balls after beating the batter for a turn and rattling the middle stump.

Ben Stokes survived an LBW call on the umpire's call off Jadeja but was castled by a Kuldeep delivery which kept low and turned to hit the back pad and rolled onto the stumps at the stroke of tea.

Post tea, England lost five wickets for 25 runs in 21 overs. Jonny Bairstow was dismissed on the first ball of the session, pushing at a Jadeja delivery which turned and spooned to short cover. Kuldeep came in to have Tom Hartley caught at mid-on and trapped Robinson lbw with the one which turned in to hit the pad past the willow.

Robinson tried to change the decision but couldn't do so as the umpire's call came on ball hitting leg-stump. Ben Foakes survived an under-edge off Ashwin, but the off spinner slipped in a carrom ball, which the batter couldn't read and gave a return catch back to the bowler.

Ashwin completed his five-fer when Anderson went for the reverse sweep and missed it. The ball ricocheted off the bat and Jurel stuck out his right glove to take a sharp catch. India's brilliant day even got better when Rohit and Jaiswal capitalised on a flurry of loose balls from England and have now all wickets in hand to seal the series in Ranchi.

Brief scores:

England 353 & 145 all out in 53.5 overs (Zak Crawley 60, Jonny Bairstow 30; Ravichandran Ashwin 5-51, Kuldeep Yadav 4-22) lead India 307 in 103.2 overs (Dhruv Jurel 90; Shoaib Bashir 5-119) & 40/0 in 8 overs (Rohit Sharma 24 not out, Yashasvi Jaiswal 16 not out) by 152 runs

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