Ashwin, Jurel take India to 388/7 in attritional first session against England

| | Rajkot
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Ashwin, Jurel take India to 388/7 in attritional first session against England

Friday, 16 February 2024 | PTI | Rajkot

Ashwin, Jurel take India to 388/7 in attritional first session against England

Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Dhruv Jurel led a resolute response after early blows in an attritional morning session to take India to 388/7 at lunch on the second day of the third Test against England here on Friday.

On a docile pitch which has not favoured any style of bowling yet, India's approach remained largely conservative which was also influenced to some extent by twin blows shortly after the play began.

Resuming at 326/5, India took their time in adding another 62 runs with Ashwin (25 batting) and Jurel (31 batting) putting on a vital 57-run stand for the eighth wicket.

Overnight centurion Ravindra Jadeja (112 from 225 balls, 9 fours, 2 sixes) could not add much to his kitty and walked back after playing one shot back to England part-timer Joe Root for a simple return catch.

The face of Jadeja's bat turned inwards towards his pads as he looked to play the ball on the on-side, resulting in Root grabbing a sharp catch over his shoulders.

Jadeja's dismissal did peg back India right after the play began as he joined nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav (4) in the dressing room soon after the latter's dismissal, off James Anderson.

The 41-year-old seamer is now merely four wickets away from completing a record 700 wickets for any fast bowler in the history of the sport.

For Jadeja, this is now his second highest score in Test cricket and also the second longest innings in the format in terms of balls faced.

The double blows at the identical team score of 331 forced new batters Ashwin and Jurel to drop anchor and build a partnership, since it is paramount for India to add as many runs as possible in the first essay on a benign track at the Niranjan Shah Stadium.

Ashwin looked busier than his younger teammate and hit a few crisp drives to get going, but an error from his part resulted in on-field umpire Joe Wilson slapping a five-run penalty on the Indian team.

England's first innings will thus start at 5/0 without a ball being bowled. The first such warning was given on the opening day, when Jadeja committed the same offence.

Jurel did a fine job in his maiden outing which began with a few dot balls and a single to get his first Test runs, while his first-ever boundary in international cricket showed promise of a fine aggressive batter.

Wood dropped one short angling into Jurel but the 23-year-old's adroit hands sent the ball, clocking a shade more than 146 kmph, flying over the slip cordon for his first six in top-flight cricket.

At the lunch break, Jurel was on 31 not out from 71 balls with two fours and a six, while Ashwin reached 25 not out off 64 balls with four hits to the fence.

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