IND vs ENG: Alastair Cook accuses Ravichandran Ashwin of deliberately violating the protected area in Rajkot Test

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In a gripping turn of events during Day 2 of the third Test between India and England in Rajkot, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin‘s maneuver to run in the protected area of the pitch has stirred discussions, with former England captain Alastair Cook suggesting it was a deliberate ploy aimed at gaining a strategic advantage during his bowling stint.

Alastair Cook implies that Ravichandran Ashwin intentionally breached the protected space

The incident transpired during the 16th over of Day 2, involving debutant Dhruv Jurel and Ashwin at the crease. Ashwin’s attempt at a single led to a turn back after being sent back by his partner. Umpire Joel Wilson accused Ashwin of encroaching into the danger area, resulting in a second warning and a subsequent penalty of five runs. Cook, sharing insights on TNT Sports, hinted that Ashwin’s actions were a form of gamesmanship to tilt the odds in his favour during the bowling phase.

“Is it deliberate? Yes, it is. It’s a tactical ploy that you can disturb the middle of the wicket because Ashwin wants as much help [as possible] when he can bowl. Normally, it happens in the third innings. You’re 150-200 runs ahead and you think, ‘just make sure you get up and down the wicket’… that was gamesmanship there, wasn’t it?” Cook said.

Also READ: IND v ENG: After Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin runs on the pitch; match officials punish Team India

Penalty and the unfair play law

The five-run penalty was enforced under the ‘Unfair Play Law’ in the MCC rules and regulations. Notably, India had received their first warning on first day when Ravindra Jadeja found himself in a similar incident.

Resilience amid drama: India’s formidable total

Despite the drama surrounding the penalty, Team India showcased remarkable resilience, posting a formidable total of 445 in their first innings. Ashwin, alongside Jurel, then orchestrated a crucial 77-run partnership, guiding India past the 400-run mark. Even number ten batter Jasprit Bumrah chipped in with a valuable cameo of 26, contributing to India’s commanding first-innings total. Mark Wood‘s relentless bowling effort earned him four wickets, while spinner Rehan Ahmed bagged two for England. The intriguing tactics and on-field battles have set the stage for an enthralling remainder of the Test match.

Also READ: Fastest to 500 Test wickets in terms of balls; Ravichandran Ashwin at No. 2

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