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Ben Duckett to pay price as England lose series advantage to India

By Chris Stocks

Published 22/11/2016

Place in doubt: Ben Duckett
Place in doubt: Ben Duckett

Ben Duckett is facing the axe after England captain Alastair Cook gave a strong indication Jos Buttler will be recalled following the 246-run defeat by India in the Second Test.

Duckett was dismissed by India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the third time in as many innings this series as England slumped to a comprehensive defeat in Visakhapatnam.

Starting the final day on 87 for two in their second innings, the tourists lost Duckett early on before being swept aside in 38.1 overs to go 1-0 down in the series with three Tests to play.

The Northamptonshire batsman averages just 15.71 after four Tests and he is now likely to be taken out of the firing line for the third match of this series in Mohali starting on Saturday.

That would see Buttler return to the team for the first time since he was dropped for the final Test against Pakistan in Sharjah a year ago.

Asked if Buttler now comes into contention for Mohali, Cook said: "I think he does, yeah. It's certainly something which the selectors will have a look at."

On Duckett, England's No4 batsman, Cook admitted: "It's hard cricket at this level. The difference I think is quite stark from playing at Northampton. Suddenly every innings is scrutinised, that's just the nature of the beast.

"No doubt that kind of scrutiny affects guys. Ben is a very talented cricketer. I'll think we'll see a lot more of him in an England shirt. Whether he plays in Mohali or not, the selectors will have to make a call on that."

Cook also praised Stuart Broad, who battled through 30 overs after damaging a tendon in his right foot on the first morning of the match.

Broad took 3-44 during India's second innings, his best figures in the country, and even though he will wear a protective 'moon' boot in a bid to be fit for Mohali, Cook admits it's too early to tell if he will be recover in time.

"I think it depends on how that injury settles," he said. "To get through like he did was extraordinary. I think he's in a lot more pain than people know and showed a hell of a lot of character. That's probably why he's been one of England's greatest bowlers. We'll know a little bit more in next 24 to 48 hours."

Cook is confident his side can fight back in Mohali, saying: "We've managed to put India under pressure at certain stages in these first two games. In the end it doesn't change: we've got to win a couple of games to get back into the series."

England, 1-0 down in the series, can have few complaints even if their efforts in taking the match to the final day were admirable. In truth the match was lost when they were bowled out for 255 on the third day to concede a 200-run first-innings deficit.

India were just too ruthless and the fear now is Virat Kohli's side will press home their advantage and go on to dominate in the remaining three matches.

Belfast Telegraph

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