IINDIA -ENG 3rd TEST AT MOTERA 2021 REVIEW
Courtesy : NDTV.COM
When Rohit lofted the part time off spinner Joe Root for a sixer in cow’s corner on the second day at Narendra Modi stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad it was all over for the 3rd Test.
There are so many comments about the quality of the pitch including suggestions to call it a “ poor pitch “ by ICC.
“I don’t think the quality of batting was at all up to standard from both teams to be very honest,” Kohi said after the match. “I know they got bundled out early but even with our innings, we were 100/3 and hoping to make many more than we ended up with. Just lack of application on both sides.
“England looked like startled rabbits in that second innings. I don’t think it was an 81 all out pitch but this was a much tougher pitch than Chennai.” Naser Hussain, former England Captain on TV Podcast.
Rohit Sharma and Zak Crawley will testify that runs could be had if you played positively and with a plan. Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jack Leach will tell you there were wickets around when you bowled with consistency.
First it was Zak Crawley who was hitting all round the corners fluently after the early dismissals of Sibley who couldn’t have any clue of the outswinger from Ishant Sharma, who was the only Indian pace bowler to take a wicket in this Test, to edge it to second slip. Jonny Bairstrow was bamboozled by Axar and bowled through the gates. And Zak in the company of his captain Joe Root tried to steady the ship from wreckage and added 47 runs before Root was plumb in front of the wicket to Axar. Thereafter England players fell like a pack of cards. Both Axar & Ashwin cleaned the tails with consummate ease. Axar claimed 6 and Ashwin claimed 3.
On the second day, the dramatic dismissals soon turned into a procession, a Conga Line back into the India and England dressing rooms.
India resuming 99 for 3 overnight were skittled out for 145 with the English captain Joe Root with his off break was the chief wrecker claiming his career best of 5 wickets just for 8 runs.
And when the England 2nd innings started, it was a bolt from the blue as the their first innings top scorer Zak Crawley was done in by a straight ball in the very first ball of the Innings and castled through the gate, and “Thanks for Coming” Jonny Bairstrow survived first ball LBW through DRS denying Axar a Hat-trick but very next ball was bamboozled by a straight delivery bowled and Bairstrow bagged a “Pair” and only a little resistance by Root and and Ben Stokes delayed the inevitable and England could never recover and were bundled out for a paltry of 81 runs with Axar again claiming 5fer and Ashwin 4 wickets. Ashwin claimed his 400th Test wicket when he trapped Joffra Archer. And India achieved the target of 49 runs without any hiccup and romped home by 10 wickets. And Axar Patel claimed the MOM award for his 11 wicket haul in his 2nd Test. A great spell of bowling the left arm tweaks.
AXAR PATEL- BETE NOIRE
England players were all at sea against the canny left armer, Axar Patel, suffice to say a BETE NOIRE of England players.
Switching between his arm and stock ball, combined with subtle variations in release points and pace, he got many wickets. Fourteen of his 18 Test wickets in both tests are right-handers. More importantly, 10 of those 14 wickets have been either bowled or LBW, suggesting how dangerous Axar is with his arm ball, or the one that slides in straight after landing.
The pink ball might further have aided his case as he revealed in the press conference after day one. “My aim was to bowl wicket to wicket and use the help on offer. In Chennai, the ball wasn’t skidding. But here it was skidding which resulted in more lbw decisions,” Axar had said at the press conference after the first day’s play.
“Since the ball was skidding, you prefer bowling wicket-to-wicket because if the batsman tends to play on the backfoot, you have a good chance of getting an lbw or bowled. I was discussing the same with Ash that the ball wasn’t turning a lot so we planned to bowl wicket-to-wicket,” Axar Patel
Coupled with a pink ball that possesses a harder seam and skids on as a result, leading to a high number of dismissals to straight deliveries.
The shiny lacquer on the pink ball, that Axar hinted was a factor in his sliders being more effective, ensured the batsmen were hurried when defending or playing shots. With a wider release point, subtle pace change and immaculate accuracy, Axar was virtually unplayable. His 18 wickets in 2 tests have come at a stunning 9.44. England have scored at barely two-an-over against him. They’ve really struggled to fend him off and rotate the strike.
“It is impossible to sweep him. It is impossible to defend him,” Virat Kohli said in the post-match presentation ceremony. It couldn’t have been put in simpler terms.
- The day-night Test match at Motera is now the 7th shortest completed Test match
- Ravichandran Ashwin took 77 tests to gather 400 wickets in Test cricket. Muttiah Muralitharan is the only player to have reached the milestone quicker than Ashwin. The Sri Lankan got to the 400th Test wicket in his 72nd Test match.
- Lowest Match aggregate 387 runs in a completed Test match in Asia.
- England’s 81 runs in second innings is the second lowest Test total by any team against India
- Joe Root’s 5fer for 8 runs is the second occasion a spinner conceding fewer runs
- Axar Patel’s 11 for 70 is the cheapest 10 wicket haul for India.
- At Dunedin (Newzeland) on 24th Feb, the Kiwis survived a scare in the second T20 International after putting 217 runs thanks to a brilliant 97 by their opener Guptil and Aussies tottering at 113/5 in the 13th over, until the flamboyant all rounder Marcus Stoinis was joined by another all rounder Daniel Sams and there was a leather hunt by both of them. It was the “Golden arm” of James Neesham who bowled the 20th over to defend 15 runs. He had both Stoinis and Sams in the same over to romp home in the finishing line by just 4 runs and go 2 up in the 5 match series.