India 152 runs away from victory after Jurel, Ashwin and Kuldeep’s toil


India 307 (Jurel 90, Jaiswal 73, Bashir 5-119) and 40 for 0 (Rohit 24*, Jaiswal 16*) need 152 runs to beat England 353 and 145 (Crawley 60, Ashwin 5-51, Kuldeep 4-22)

R Ashwin‘s five-wicket haul, and Kuldeep Yadav‘s four, spun India to an achievable target for victory in the third Test, and the series.

On a day when two youngsters, each playing their second Tests, confirmed their arrival by exerting considerable influence on the match, it was the vastly experienced Ashwin who lit up India’s efforts to seize some control, with Kuldeep stepping in for an economical 4 for 22 from his 15 overs to help contain England’s advantage to 191.

Ashwin followed two wickets in as many balls with that of first-innings centurion Joe Root as England slipped to 65 for 3, then sealed his 35th Test five-for late in the day to bowl England out for 145 in their second innings and give India’s openers a nibble at the deficit over the final 20 minutes or so before the close. Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal negotiated that period safely, reducing their task to 152 runs.

It came after 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel had posted his maiden Test fifty, falling just 10 runs shy of a ton to be India’s top-scorer as he pushed his side to 307 all out, closing the first-innings gap to 46 after they started the day 134 runs adrift with three wickets in hand. Shoaib Bashir, England’s 20-year-old offspinner who toiled through 32 overs – 31 of them on the trot – for his four wickets on the second day, became the second-youngest England bowler to take a five-for in men’s Tests behind Rehan Ahmed, whom he replaced for this match.

England lost 5 for 25 in 21 overs after the tea break as the pitch began to grip and turn more frequently. They were 19 for 2 in the fifth over after Ashwin had Ben Duckett caught at short leg off a length ball which drifted in and found the inside edge, popping to Sarfaraz Khan for a regulation catch. Ollie Pope was out for a pair when Ashwin pinned him lbw next ball, one which didn’t turn as much as the batter had perhaps expected as he was rapped on the back pad in line with leg stump.

Root shared a 46-run partnership with Zak Crawley before Ashwin struck again, finding some turn from around the wicket with a full ball that beat Root’s inside edge and rapped the pad. Adjudged not out initially, India reviewed with question marks hanging over whether the ball had pitched outside leg stump, with replays suggesting the ball had pitched marginally in line with leg and was going on to hit it.

Crawley raised his 13th in Test fifty and third of this series, and settled into another stand with Jonny Bairstow, worth 45. Jurel missed a stumping chance off Bairstow when he was on 23 with England 106 for 3 but Kuldeep began to find appreciable turn which accounted for Crawley, bowled on middle stump for 60.

Stokes couldn’t stifle a wry smile when he survived an lbw appeal off Ravindra Jadeja on umpire’s call, given his questioning of that element of the DRS earlier in this series, as Jadeja beat him on the inside edge with a delivery that ball-tracking suggested was headed for the top of leg stump.

Jadeja and Kuldeep were getting the ball to turn more often late in the middle session on a pitch that was still behaving unpredictably and Kuldeep got Stokes with a gem that stayed low, slid onto the back pad, between the batter’s legs and into the stumps.

That left England on 120 for 5 at tea, but Jadeja made it 120 for 6 with the first delivery after the interval, tossing one up off stump which turned away out of a crack as Bairstow jabbed towards Rajat Patidar for a simple catch at short cover.

Kuldeep doubled his tally in his ninth over – an eventful one in which he had Tom Hartley well caught by Sarfaraz at mid-on, bringing Ollie Robinson to the crease following his first-innings half-century. Robinson had to call for a review immediately after he was given out lbw attempting a reverse-sweep with replays showing the ball struck his glove on its way through to the pad. There was no reprieve two balls later though, Robinson’s attempt to overturn another lbw decision failing when Kuldeep turned the ball in towards middle and leg, hitting the pad below the knee roll and he was given out umpire’s call on leg stump.

Ashwin claimed his fourth with a return catch when Ben Foakes, who had just overturned an lbw decision off the same bowler, failed to pick the carrom ball and chipped straight back. He removed James Anderson for a pair three balls later when Jurel took an excellent one-handed catch behind the stumps.

Earlier, Jurel and Kuldeep capitalised on the most favourable batting conditions of the day as they put on a 76-run partnership for the eighth wicket in a steady first hour.

Jurel upped the tempo after Anderson bowled Kuldeep for 28 off 131 balls. With a maximum already to his name when he resumed the day on 22, Jurel smashed Bashir down the ground for six and four off consecutive deliveries. He struck two more sixes, off Bashir and Hartley, before he was last man out, bowled by an excellent Hartley delivery which angled in and spun past his defence, crashing into middle and off stump to end an innings of great maturity.

Before his dismissal, however, came that of Akash Deep, who also struck a six off Bashir before he provided the spinner’s crucial fifth wicket, lbw for 9 in a decision which stood on umpire’s call despite his hopeful review.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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