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Ben Duckett’s ton keeps England afloat in third India Test

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RAJKOT: Opener Ben Duckett led England’s fightback with a brisk century and propelled the visitors to 207/2 in response to India’s 445 on Day 2 of the third Test of the five-match series here on Friday.

The left-handed opener amassed his third Test hundred in just 88 balls as England made 207-2 to cut their deficit by 238 runs after bowling out India for 445.

Duckett, unbeaten on 133 alongside Joe Root (nine) will now resume England’s strong reply on Day 3.

Ben Duckett came out all guns blazing and despite disciplined opening spells by the Indian pacers, smashed regular boundaries amid his 80-ball opening stand of 84 with Zak Crawley, who 15 off 28.

The solid opening stand was broken by Ravichandran Ashwin, who dismissed Crawley after Tea to complete 500 wickets in Test cricket, becoming only the second Indian to achieve the milestone after legendary spinner Anil Kumble (619).

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Duckett then partnered with Olly Stone for a 93-run stand and brought up his century in the process by hitting a boundary off Mohammed Siraj, who got out the latter to break the 93-run stand.

“To be that far behind in the game and go out and play like that showed real bravery and skill,” England quick Mark Wood said of Duckett’s knock.

“The way India changed the field and then he’d hit it somewhere else, it was such a skilful innings against a good attack.”

“I’m delighted, the way him and Zak go out together and put pressure on the opposition,” said Wood, who took four wickets in India’s innings.

Earlier in the day, India resumed their first innings at an overnight score of 326/5 with Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav on strike.

The overnight pair of Jadeja and Kuldeep could add five runs to India’s tally before both perished in a span of six deliveries, bringing India down to 331/7.

However, important contributions from Dhruv Jurel (46), Ashwin (37) and Jasprit Bumrah (26) lifted them to a formidable total.

Express pacer Mark Wood remained the star with the ball for England, picking up four wickets, while Rehan Ahmed bagged two.

Tom Hartley, Joe Root and James Anderson struck out a batter apiece.

READ: Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the second-fastest to take 500 Test wickets

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