Two day Test match spins India way

25 Feb 2021
Sridhar Bhamidi 25 Feb 2021
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  • India defeated England by 10-wickets to win the third Test within two days in Ahmedabad
  • Axar Patel was the 'Man of the match' for match figures of 11/70 and five wickets in both innings
  • Ravichandran Ashwin became the second-fastest bowler to take 400 Test wickets behind Muttiah Muralitharan
  • India lead the series 2-1 and knock England out of contention for the final of the World Test Championship
  • This was the shortest completed Test match since 1935
India v England Third Test
The world's biggest stadium opened with a comprehensive Indian win over England (Getty Images)

Thirty wickets in just over five sessions of cricket, 28 of those to spinners and 17 in the first two sessions on day two combined to make the third Test between India and England the shortest completed Test match since 1935. The 10-wicket win gives India a 2-1 lead in the four-match series ruling England out of the World Test Championship reckoning, while keeping them in the hunt.

It was a Test of records, as Ravichandran Ashwin became the second-fastest to 400 Test wickets and Joe Root claimed 5/8 in 6.2 overs – the most economical five-for by a spinner in Test history and the first for an England captain since Bob Willis has done it in 1983. England’s 81 in the second innings was also their lowest-ever total against India. Last but not the least, Virat Kohli became India’s most successful home Test captain with his 22nd win in 29 home Tests. All this in Ishant Sharma’s 100th Test for India!

The newly-built Narendra Modi Stadium didn’t promise this mayhem on day one when Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first. England went in with three seamers and just one spinner in Jack Leach, while India stacked their line-up with three spinners and two seamers. Eventually, that proved to be one of the biggest differences between the two teams.

England’s opener Zak Crawley (53) looked at his serene best stroking the ball at will in an innings that promised a lot. England, however, collapsed around him to be bowled out for a paltry 112 in their first innings. India’s left-arm orthodox spinner Axar Patel (6/38) picked up his second consecutive five-for.
India responded with 145 in their first innings for a 33-run lead, which in retrospection looked like a 100-run advantage. Rohit Sharma (66) once again looked the most comfortable in the middle. Root took 5/8 and punched holes in the Indian response which was 114/3 at one stage.

Any hopes of an England comeback were punctured by an extremely disciplined Axar (5/32) who ran through their top-order in the second innings starting with two wickets off the first three balls. England could never recover from that and were bowled out for 81.

The 49-run target was never going to test the Indians and Rohit (25*) eased them to a 10-wicket victory within eight overs. Axar won the man-of-the-match award for his Test figures of 11/70.

Speaking during the presentation ceremony, Root felt that his batsmen should have scored more. He said, “Having won the toss and batted first, we felt like we got ourselves in a pretty good position there and we just didn't capitalise on it. Had we even got 250 on that wicket, that would have been a really good score. We've just got to keep trying to learn and get better all the time. A week like this doesn't define us as a team, we know what we're capable of doing and we'll come back and use the hurt of this week as motivation going into that last game.”

Kohli felt that the batting from both teams left a lot to be desired. He said, “The quality of batting was at all up to standards from both teams. There was just a lack of application from both sides. It was a very good pitch to bat on - especially in the first innings - and it felt like the ball was coming on nicely with the odd ball turning. It was just, I would say, below-par batting from both teams. Our bowlers were much more effective and that's why we got the result.”