India hammer England by 434 runs in third Test

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India hammer England by 434 runs in third Test

Monday, 19 February 2024 | PTI | Rajkot

India hammer England by 434 runs in third Test

Yashasvi Jaiswal’s sensational double hundred found harmonious co-existence with the stunning craftiness of five-wicket man Ravindra Jadeja as ruthless India demolished wasteful England by a record 434 runs on the fourth day of the third Test here on Sunday.

England resisted their desire to play ‘Bazball’ but the Indian bowlers led by Jadeja (5/41) were an irresistible force, as they hustled out the tourists for 122 in their second innings while chasing an improbable 557-run target.

India, now, lead the five-match series 2-1.

This was also India’s biggest win in Test cricket in terms of runs, bettering the previous 372-run win over New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in 2021.

Jaiswal’s unbeaten 214 off 236 balls, in which he equalled the highest number of sixes (12) in a Test innings, was the cornerstone of India’s second innings total of 430 for four declared, which gave them a massive lead of 556 runs earlier in the day.

It was also a perfect platform for Jadeja to weave his magic as England’s claims of fancying themselves in big chases through an aggressive approach came to nothing.

India’s plan of attacking the wickets took the wind away from the sails of England, whose top order crumbled without any significant contribution.

With Jadeja finding ample support from Kuldeep Yadav (2/19), Jasprit Bumrah (1/18) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/19), who rejoined the match on this day after attending a medical emergency at home, England found no way out.

Ben Duckett (4) ran himself out, Zak Crawley (11) was trapped leg-before by Bumrah and Jadeja struck twice in quick succession to see the back of Ollie Pope (3) and extended Jonny Bairstow’s (4) misery on this tour.

Struggling desperately for runs on this tour, Bairstow was trapped leg-before while trying to sweep Jadeja.

England’s hero of the win in the first Test, Pope cut one straight to Rohit Sharma at first slip as Jadeja shook their top-order.

After a brief period of resistance, Joe Root (7) missed a sweep with the umpire declaring him out leg-before off Jadeja, and the replays confirmed that the ball would have flicked the top of off-stump.

Captain Ben Stokes (15) had a similar fate, missing a sweep off Kuldeep Yadav as England slumped to 50 for six.

Ashwin took the field in the post tea session and contributed his bit with the scalp of Tom Hartley.

For a while, it seemed England would fold for one of their lowest-ever totals against India, but a late burst from Mark Wood (33, 15 balls, 6x4s, 1x6s) took them to 122 from 82 for eight.

But before Jadeja and his horsemen of apocalypse ran through England, Jaiswal and debutant Sarfaraz Khan showcased their brilliance in no little measure.

Shubman Gill too displayed his class with a 91 after India resumed the fourth day from 196 for two. The knock combined with his hundred in the previous Test might have brought him considerable time and confidence.

But none shone as bright as Jaiswal. Having notched up his overall third century and second of the series, Jaiswal continued with his red-hot form to become the first player to hit 20 sixes in a series with two more matches left.

Jaiswal’s six-hitting spree so far has resulted in India bettering their own record of most sixes (48) in a series.

The left-handed opener also entered record books to join Pakistan legend Wasim Akram for most sixes (12) for any batter in a Test innings, while resetting the same statistical high for India.

Jaiswal joined Vinod Kambli and Virat Kohli as only the third Indian ever to have scored two consecutive double centuries in as many games, while becoming the seventh Indian ever to have scored in excess of 200 in the second essay of a Test.

In the process, the 22-year-old Jaiswal also breached the 500-run mark in only the third Test of this series, reaching 545 runs in six innings at an average of 109 with two tons and a fifty.

In fact, Jaiswal is now the leading run-scorer in the current cycle of ICC World Test Championship (WTC), going past Australia’s Usman Khawaja with 861 runs in seven Tests at 71.75, studded with three centuries and two fifties.

But Sarfaraz too gave a shining portent with two fifties in his maiden Test.

His unbeaten 68 was laced with class and that customary disdain for spinners, something England will be worrying a lot ahead of the fourth Test beginning in Ranchi from Friday.

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