3rd Test: Jaiswal’s double ton, Sarfaraz & Gill's fifties help India set mammoth 557-run target for Eng

February 18, 2024
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Rajkot, Feb 18 (IANS) A phenomenal double century from Yashasvi Jaiswal coupled with fifties from Shubman Gill and Sarfaraz Khan propelled India to set England a mammoth 557 runs to win the third Test after declaring their second innings at 430/4 in 98 overs.

Jaiswal, who had to retire hurt on 104 on day three due to back cramps, remained unbeaten on a career-best score of 214 off 236 balls. He hit 14 fours and 12 sixes, and levelled with Wasim Akram for the world record for most sixes in a Test innings. Jaiswal is also the first Test player to hit 20 sixes in a series.

With his smooth power game enthralling fans under bright sunshine at the Niranjan Shah Stadium on Sunday, Jaiswal is now the leading run-getter in the ongoing series and also the third-youngest player to smash two double-centuries in Tests, behind Vinod Kambli and Don Bradman.

On the other hand, Sarfaraz piled on the misery over England’s inexperienced spin bowlers by making 68 – his second fifty on Test debut, becoming the fourth Indian batter to do so. Sarfaraz and Jaiswal, who come from the same school in Mumbai, produced plenty of fireworks in their entertaining 172-run partnership for the fifth wicket in just 26.2 overs, showing that the future of Indian Test cricket batting is indeed very bright.

Post lunch, Jaiswal took a single to get his 150 and then scooped James Anderson over fine leg for a boundary. If this wasn’t enough, Jaiswal treated Anderson with absolute disdain – smashing sixes over fine leg, cover, and straight down the ground to take 21 runs off the over.

Sarfaraz continued to get boundaries by picking the leg-side gaps with ease, and eventually got back-to-back fifties on debut. Jaiswal’s carnage had no stopping as he reached his 200 to leap in joy and celebrated the landmark in style by slicing and slog-sweeping Root for back-to-back sixes.

Sarfaraz then crunched Rehan for two leg-side sixes and a four lofted over extra cover, before declaration arrived from captain Rohit Sharma, leaving England with a steep mountain to climb.

Previously, in the first session, Gill made 91 as India continued to swell their lead over a hapless England. Kuldeep Yadav frustrated England’s bowlers with his 91-ball 27 while Gill missed out on a successive second-innings century by just nine runs.

The morning began with nightwatchman Kuldeep dancing down the pitch to hit Tom Hartley for a delightful six over mid-on, also his first maximum in international cricket. He then slapped a short ball from the left-arm spinner over extra cover for four.

Gill joined the boundary-hitting spree with a trademark short-arm jab and sumptuous drive, even as Kuldeep grew in confidence by drilling Hartley over the bowler’s head and bringing in a deft late cut off Mark Wood to bring the fifty up of his stand with Gill.

England’s frustration was summed up when they burnt a review on Kuldeep off Wood and failed to take one when the batter was trapped plumb lbw on the sweep. Luck deserted India when Kuldeep didn’t time the ball well to mid-on and set out for a non-existent single.

He took a couple of steps, but sent Gill back, who was too late to get back to the crease and was run-out by the direct hit from mid-on despite the batter making a full-length dive, ending his knock at 91, which was co-incidentally the same score he made in the 2021 Gabba Test chase.

Shortly after, Kuldeep fell when his drive sent an outside edge to slip off Rehan Ahmed. From there, Jaiswal and Sarfaraz, the Mumbai lads, took a six each off Root over long-on fence, while entertaining the fans with sweep, flick, slog-sweep and loft till lunch came. Post lunch, the Jaiswal-Sarfaraz mayhem continued as the duo reached their milestones before declaration came.

Brief Scores: India 445 and 430/4 dec in 98 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 214 not out, Shubman Gill 91; Tom Hartley 1-78, Rehan Ahmed 1-108) lead England 319 in 71.1 overs by 556 runs

–IANS/nr/bc

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