The Day-Night Test at the new Motera Stadium at Ahmedabad ended in less than two days as Team India took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series by winning the match by 10 wickets. The match ended with just 842 balls bowled over the course of two days as 30 wickets fell in this record time. People are now left scratching their heads as to how so much happened in so little time.
Let’s try to make sense of this mayhem in India’s second Day-Night Test at home through our five talking points from the game.
ENGLAND ‘AXED’ AGAIN
On a surface where there was so much happening for the spinners, Axar Patel rolled over 11 wickets in the game with the majority of the English batsmen getting out to straight deliveries. Axar couldn’t have asked for a better start to his Test career as in two games he has picked up 18 wickets and is proving to be the standout bowler of the series so far.
The pace with which he bowls at, makes him impossible to play on surfaces like the Motera and England haven’t been able to find the right solution of tackling the left-arm spinner. His arm-ball has become such a lethal delivery that Rishabh Pant from behind the stumps has started calling him ‘Wasim Bhai’ (comparing him to the great Wasim Akram).
400 TEST WICKETS FOR R ASHWIN
Ravichandran Ashwin became the second-quickest to reach 400 wickets in Test cricket when he got past the defence of Jofra Archer in the second innings. When asked in the post-match interview, whether this is the best he has ever bowled, Ashwin had a straight answer. He believes that there are more heights to be achieved and he wouldn’t be surprised if his game evolves even more from this point. He is constantly looking to improve and innovate. That’s the mindset of a class bowler like R Ashwin.
He is definitely a modern-day great in Test cricket. For Indian cricket’s sake, long may he continue to defy all the odds and keep putting in match-winning performances for his team.
100TH TEST FOR ISHANT SHARMA
It’s always a special moment for any cricketer to play 100 Tests for their nation but this becomes even more special when a fast bowler goes on to achieve this feat especially one from the subcontinent. Ishant Sharma got his 100th Test cap at the Day-Night Test at Ahmedabad and was facilitated by the Honourable President and the Honourable Home Minister of India before the start of play on Day 1.
He didn’t have much to do in the game given how quickly the match got over but he did pick the first wicket of the game and smashed a six in India’s first innings. That was Ishant’s first-ever six in Test cricket, and it seems like he was saving it for a special occasion.
PINK-BALL MADE A DIFFERENCE
Before the series started, England had pinned all their hopes on this pink-ball Test at Ahmedabad where they thought was the best chance of winning a Test. It seems like they picked an XI based on the pink-ball and not the surface. England went in with just a sole spinner in Jack Leach whereas India went in with three proper spinners.
Many thought that the pink-ball would do plenty under lights and it would be somewhat similar to conditions in England but that wasn’t to be. The pink-ball did make a difference but it wasn’t for the seamers but the spinners who enjoyed bowling with it. The ball had extra lacquer paint on it and that meant that it skidded through after pitching which gave the batsman less time to adjust to the trajectory. That was one of the biggest reasons why many wickets fell to straight deliveries rather than rank turners and why the Test match ended within two days.
LACK OF APPLICATION WITH THE BAT FROM BOTH TEAMS
Apart from Zak Crawley and Rohit Sharma, no other batsman across both the teams can be happy with the way they performed in this Test. The conditions were challenging and the pink-ball did make it difficult for batsmen to settle in but overall it was a horrendous display of batsmanship in this game. Virat Kohli in the post-match interview admitted that both teams were equally bad with the bat and it was the class of the Indian spinners that took them to the right end of the result.
21 of the 30 wickets which fell in this game were against straight deliveries. So one can criticise the surface as much as they want to but the overall lack of application with the bat was pretty evident.
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