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    England began their innings in Rajkot with a score of five
England began their innings in Rajkot with a score of five
via Midjourney

England began their innings in Rajkot with a score of five

On the second morning, R Ashwin was reprimanded for running on the protected area of the pitch.

England started their first innings in the Rajkot Test at 5 for 0. India received a five-run penalty because R Ashwin ran on the protected area of the pitch while batting on day two.

Ravindra Jadeja had already received a warning for running on the protected area on day one of the third Test.

The law defines the protected area as the rectangular area on the pitch that is bounded at each end by imaginary lines parallel to the popping creases and 5 ft/1.52 m in front of each, and on the sides by imaginary lines. These lines are parallel to the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps and are 1 ft/30.48 cm from it.

During the 102nd over of India's first innings, England was awarded penalty runs. This happened when Ashwin pushed the ball towards cover and ran down the pitch before being sent back by Dhruv Jurel. Umpire Joel Wilson had a word with Ashwin, who was upset at being penalised, before signalling the penalty runs.

Ashwin later told the press conference that he was aware of the umpires' earlier warnings, but his "poor motor skills" got in the way as he tried to get off the field.

According to former England captain Alastair Cook, Ashwin's actions in disturbing the middle of the wicket could have been a deliberate tactical ploy.  Cook stated on TNT Sports that Ashwin wants as much help as possible when he bowls, and this tactic is a way to achieve that. Typically, this occurs in the third innings. 

Law 41.14, which pertains to batters damaging the pitch, states that it is unfair to intentionally or negligently cause damage to the pitch. If the striker enters the protected area while playing or attempting to play the ball, he/she must move from it immediately thereafter. A batter will be considered to be causing avoidable damage if either umpire deems his/her presence on the pitch to be without reasonable cause.

If either batter causes deliberate or avoidable damage to the pitch, other than as in 41.15, the umpire who sees the contravention shall inform the other umpire when the ball is dead. The bowler's end umpire shall then warn both batters that the practice is unfair and indicate that this is a first and final warning. This warning shall apply throughout the innings. The umpire must inform each incoming batter, as well as the captain of the fielding and batting sides, of what has occurred.

If there is any further instance of deliberate or avoidable damage to the pitch by any batter in that innings, the umpire who sees the contravention must inform the other umpire of the occurrence when the ball is dead.

The umpire at the bowler's end must disallow any runs scored by the batting side, send any batsman not out back to his original end, give a no-ball or wide to the scorers if necessary, and award 5 penalty runs to the fielding side.

At the time of the incident, India were 358 for 7, having lost both overnight batsmen, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, within the first hour of play on the second morning. England won the first match in Hyderabad and India drew in Visakhapatnam, leaving the five-Test series level at 1-1.

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