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Rohit makes a blunder of not bowling Ashwin early to Duckett

article_imageTALKING POINTS
Last updated on 16 Feb 2024 | 02:14 PM
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Rohit makes a blunder of not bowling Ashwin early to Duckett

Here are some of the talking points from day two of the third Test between India and England in Rajkot

Jadeja - not a great overnight batter

Ravindra Jadeja put up a tremendous fight on day one of the third Test in Rajkot and was unbeaten on 110 when he walked out to bat on day two, with India being 326/5. The hosts needed him to convert this into a big hundred but all he did was add two runs before chipping one straight back to Joe Root in the fifth over of the day.

While the left-hander has an average of 50.63 in Tests since 2022, he has developed a bad habit of getting out early after remaining unbeaten overnight. The last five times he has remained not out overnight, Jadeja has been able to add only 2, 25, 12, 4, and 21 runs respectively on the next day. 

His dismissal, on Friday (February 16), would have cost India even more if Dhruv Jurel (46) and R Ashwin (37) hadn’t added 77 runs for the eighth wicket.

Duckett owns India in the third session

Ben Duckett completely decimated India in the final session of day two. England smashed 176 runs in the session, with the left-hander scoring 114 of those. Duckett became the only overseas batter to score 100-plus runs in a session, with the other three being Indians. The left-hander has raced to 133 off 118, bringing the deficit down to 238.

35, 47, 21, and 28 - having got starts in all of his previous four innings in this series, Duckett raced to 19 off 22 by the end of the second session. However, it was in the third session when Duckett went crazy and toyed with the Indian bowling attack. The sweep, reverse sweep, switch hit, cut, pull, flick down the ground, and a couple more shots - Rohit Sharma had no idea what field to set for the 29-year-old.

Duckett didn’t have a strike rate of less than 92 against any Indian bowler. The opener went about his business at 181.3 against Kuldeep Yadav and 145.4 against Jadeja. In fact, he scored runs at a strike rate of 135.19 against spin and 93.75 versus pace. While it was square drive, pull and square cut that yielded him runs against pace, Duckett used the sweep shot to great effect against spin.

Six times he played the conventional sweep shot against spin and got a boundary every single time. We haven’t even mentioned the slog sweep and reverse sweep, which got him 17 runs off six deliveries. Duckett ended up registering the third-fastest ton (88 deliveries) by a visiting batter in India and he is not done yet.

Where was Ashwin?

37 runs in seven innings at an average of 7.4, with five dismissals - this is how Duckett had fared against Ashwin before the start of this innings. And we all know how good Ashwin is against the left-handers. What’s more, the offspinner had already dismissed Duckett twice in this series, making this match-up a no-brainer.

Despite knowing everything, Indian captain Rohit allowed Duckett to score 55 runs before bringing Ashwin into the attack. The 37-year-old came to bowl in the 12th over and Duckett was well set by then. Rohit also left a lot of open gaps in the outfield and that allowed Duckett to find boundaries at regular intervals. 

What is done is done and hopefully, we will see Ashwin opening the attack alongside Bumrah on day three. India need to make full use of the early moisture and for that, they need Bumrah and Ashwin bowling in tandem.

Other major talking points from day two

Ben Duckett buries ghosts of the past to rewrite his career story

High on confidence and swagger, Dhruv Jurel impresses on debut

Stats: Ashwin becomes the second-fastest bowler to 500 Test wickets

Explained: Why India were handed a five-run penalty for Ashwin’s actions

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