Ravichandran Ashwin to rejoin India squad in Rajkot

R Ashwin is set to rejoin the Indian squad in Rajkot on Day 4, February 18. Ashwin, who picked his 500th Test wicket in the first innings of this fixture, had temporarily withdrawn from the squad after the second day’s play on Friday, February 16, due to a family emergency.

It was uncertain at that point whether India will have their entire XI to bat with in the third innings, and bowl in the fourth, but the BCCI has now confirmed that Ashwin will return and partake in the third Test.

India fared well in the lynchpin’s absence to trigger a batting collapse for England on Day 3 as the visitors nosedived from 224/2 to 319 all out. The last time India took first innings leads in excess of 100 in each of the first three Tests of a home series was against Sri Lanka in 1993/94 (293, 310 & 239). They’ve got to score lots of runs in the second essay because the pitch is a belter and England have developed a reputation for going after the targets in the fourth innings no matter how tall they are.