Heading into the pink-ball Test at Narendra Modi Stadium, experts reckoned that the seamers would get a lot of assistance from the pitch. However, what we saw from the first day’s play was exactly the opposite. While England prepared themselves to tackle the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel came out of the syllabus.
The left-arm spinner ripped apart England’s batting line up and claimed 6 for 38 in 21.4 overs. With that, he claimed his second five-wicket haul in only his second Test of his international career. Axar’s 6-for helped India bundled England out for just 112 runs in the first innings.
Former England’s captain, Nassar Hussain, heaped praise on the Indian spinner and stated that the England spinners must learn from the latter how to bowl on these kinds of surfaces.
“He (Axar Patel) is incredibly accurate, which is something England’s spinners can learn from. But he also bowls at a good pace, and he operates from stump to stump, so bowling the batsman and lbw are always in the equation.”
“The weird thing is, he’s probably harder to face on a pitch like this, where some turn and some don’t than he is on a pitch like the one England faced in the second Test in Chennai, where almost every ball turned big,” added Hussain.
Nasser Hussain only pointed out how the Indian spinner accounted for England wickets. Out of his six wickets, four wickets came off the delivered, which went straight on and didn’t turn. The English commentator criticized the English batsman for not being proactive and giving their wickets away easily.
“Four of Patel’s wickets — Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer and Ben Foakes — came from balls that didn’t turn. That says a lot about the state of mind of the batsmen. England could also have been more proactive.”
In the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, who has been ruled out of the series due to injury, Axar has performed brilliantly for the side in both the second and the ongoing Tests. He currently has 13 wickets to his name in 2 Tests, at an astonishing average of 10.62.