Ashwin set to rejoin Indian team for rest of third Test against England in Rajkot

Offspinner R Ashwin will rejoin the Indian team in Rajkot on the fourth day of the ongoing third Test against England, the BCCI has confirmed. He had left the city after play on the second day because of personal reasons and missed the third day’s play entirely.

“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.”

ESPNcricinfo understands that he could be in Rajkot by lunch. Ashwin will be available to bowl as soon as he is needed 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.

India’s batters had extended that to 322 for the loss of only two second-innings wickets by stumps, with Yashasvi Jaiswal scoring 104 before retiring hurt with a back niggle and Shubman Gill unbeaten on 65.

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