India romped through a massive 317 runs series-levelling victory over England on Tuesday as the visitors were bowled out for 164 in their second innings. All 10 English wickets fell to spinners; R Ashwin took 3, Kuldeep Yadav picked 2, and it was the debutant Axar Patel who bagged his maiden Test five-wicket haul.
Axar Patel became the 9th Indian bowler and only the second left-arm off-spinner, since Dilip Doshi in 1979 at the same venue, to have a five-for to his name on Test debut.
The 27-year-old, who was supposed to play in the first Test but was ruled out due to a late injury, picked two wickets in the first innings, that of England skipper Joe Root, and Moeen Ali.
In the second innings, he was given the new ball, in the second over; the off-spinner got the wickets of opener Dom Sibley and nightwatchman Jack Leach in the last hour of play on Day 3.
The Gujarat-born dismissed Ollie Pope in the morning of Day 4. Axar Patel once again bagged the opposition skipper – the bowler could have Root on Day 3 itself had the on-field umpire given the batsman out which on review showed umpire’s call on impact with the ball crashing into the stumps – right after lunch. Patel completed his five-for with the wicket of Olly Stone.
I forced the batsman to make mistakes: Axar Patel
After the game, Axar Patel spoke about his bowling – he said that it was necessary to bowl with varying lengths and speed to keep the batsmen guessing. He also talked about the importance of bowling straighter and tight line for which he got rewarded as the English batters couldn’t read his arm-balls which went straight instead of turning.
The lanky spinner also used his height to good advantage by gaining some extra bounce from the pitch as seen in the dismissal of Joe Root in the second innings.
“It was a good experience, to get a five-wicket haul on debut is special. As Kuldeep said, there was much happening on the pitch.
“It was about varying your speed and I just kept doing it. Forced the batsman to make mistakes. On the first day itself, it was turning. So, we bowled tight lines and got the rewards,” Axar Patel told Star Sports after the match.
After a week’s break, the third Test, which is a Day-Night contest to be played with the pink-ball, will commence on 24th February in Ahmedabad.