Indian spinner Axar Patel has had a dream start to his Test career. After missing out on a debut in the first Test in Chennai due to injury, Axar made his first foray into Tests in the second Test in Chennai and made an immediate impact with the ball on a turning pitch.
He picked up 7 wickets in his debut Test including his maiden fifer helping India win the Test by 317 runs, as Indian spinners ran riot on a turning surface. Though Ravichandran Ashwin won the Man of the Match for his century and fifer, Axar’s contribution was lauded by one and all.
When It Happens, It Feels So Easy. I Am Not Thinking Much: Axar Patel
Axar Patel played his first Test on his home ground in Gujarat’s Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, and rocked the show with this bowling. Though Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat, it was the left-arm spinner who shined.
He picked 6/38 in the first innings, his career-best innings figure as England was routed for 112 runs. He kept the ball straight on a turning pitch and earned LBWs and clean bowled scalps. After India was bowled out for 145 in the second innings, England eyed to build on the meager 33-run lead.
But Axar struck on the first ball of their second innings and from then it was all downhill for the visitors. He picked 5/32 as England was bowled out for their lowest total in Tests against India-81. Axar was also named the Man of the Match, as India chased down the required 49 runs without losing a wicket.
“When it happens, it feels so easy. I am not thinking much. I want to continue this form. I am happy that if I am not contributing with the bat, I am doing it with the ball. My strength is to bowl wicket-to-wicket and not give him room. The mindset of batters is they play out couple of maidens, they either go for a sweep or try to hit over the infield,” said Axar after receiving his first Man of the Match award.
The fourth Test match begins on March 4 in Ahmedabad. England has been knocked out of the race for the WTC final, as India leads the series 2-1. India needs to win or draw the last Test to qualify for the final and face New Zealand at Lord’s on June 18.