Ashwin rejoins Indian team for rest of third Test against England in Rajkot

He returned to the field at the start of the third session, with England 18 for 2 in their chase of 557.

The day had begun with positive news for India, with the BCCI announcing Ashwin was on his way back to Rajkot. “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is pleased to announce the return of R Ashwin to the squad after a brief absence due to a family emergency,” it said in a statement. “Both R Ashwin and the team management are pleased to confirm that he will be back in action on Day 4 and will continue to contribute towards the team’s cause in the ongoing Test match. Ashwin and his family kindly request privacy as they navigate through these challenging times.”

Ashwin was available to bowl as soon as he took despite having spent an entire day off the field. The umpires can waive the requirement of penalty time if they feel the player was off the field for “other wholly acceptable reasons, which shall not include illness or internal injury” according to the playing conditions.

Ashwin had taken his 500th wicket in Test cricket on the second day of the Rajkot Test and attended the press conference after play. It was only at 11pm IST that the news of Ashwin having left the team became public via a statement from the BCCI.

The third day’s play had begun with England on 207 for 2 in 35 overs in response to India’s first-innings total of 445, with opener Ben Duckett batting on a hundred 133 at more than a run a ball. India, however, fought back despite Ashwin’s absence, taking eight wickets for 112 runs on the third day to secure a first-innings lead of 126.

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India’s batters had extended that to 322 for the loss of only two second-innings wickets by stumps on the third day, with Yashasvi Jaiswal scoring 104 before retiring hurt with a back niggle and Shubman Gill unbeaten on 65. India further strengthened their grip on the Test by taking their lead to 556 before declaring during the second session of play.

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