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Ravichandran Ashwin to return for India as hosts look to take 2-1 series lead

His absence effectively left India down to 10 players.

David Charlesworth
Sunday 18 February 2024 05:22 GMT
Ravichandran Ashwin is set to boost India’s victory push against England (Ajit Solanki/AP)
Ravichandran Ashwin is set to boost India’s victory push against England (Ajit Solanki/AP) (AP)

Ravichandran Ashwin is set to return to the fold for India against England in the third Test in Rajkot.

Ashwin withdrew from the Test just a few hours after taking his 500th wicket in the format on the second day to attend to a family medical emergency with India’s full blessing.

His absence effectively left India down to 10 players as he could only be replaced in the field and not with bat or ball although England’s batting collapse on Saturday meant the hosts gained the upper hand.

But a statement from Jay Shah, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s secretary, confirmed Ashwin would come back at some point on the penultimate day as Rohit Sharma’s side push to go 2-1 up in the series.

“Both R Ashwin and the team management are pleased to confirm that he will be back in action on day four and will continue to contribute towards the team’s cause,” the statement read.

“The team management, players, media and fans have shown immense understanding and empathy, acknowledging the importance of family as a priority.

“The team and its supporters have stood united in support of Ashwin during this challenging period, and the management is delighted to welcome him back to the field.

“Ashwin and his family kindly request privacy as they navigate through these challenging times.”

India pushed their lead to 372 after the first hour of play on day four, with England’s only moment of success arriving directly before the break in play when Shubman Gill was run out by Tom Hartley for 91.

Nightwatcher Kuldeep Yadav should have been leg-before two balls earlier after missing a sweep off slow left-armer Hartley but England elected against using their one remaining review.

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