Axar Patel claimed magnificent figures of 6 for 38 in 21.4 overs to help India clean up the visitors for a paltry 112. That was the left-arm spinner’s second five-wicket haul in as many Tests; he had also picked up five wickets in England’s second innings of the second Test in Chennai, which India won by 317 runs to level the series.
Speaking to the media after the first day’s play, Axar Patel explained that he felt no home advantage, as Team India hadn’t played at the ground in the last five years. He said in this regard:
“There was no home advantage as such. Yes, this is my home ground. But we are playing here after five years. The wickets are also new. So honestly, there was no home advantage as such.”
On a lighter note, he observed:
“Only because of the Gujarati crowd, I felt like there was some kind of home advantage. Otherwise, it seemed that things were equal for both sides.”
Axar Patel sizzles on Day 1 of the pink-ball Test
Axar Patel took a wicket with his very first ball at his home ground when he trapped Jonny Bairstow leg before wicket for a duck. He also dismissed Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes to finish with an impressive six-for.
His second five-wicket haul, playing only his second Test, put him in an elite list. Axar Patel is now only the third Indian bowler to take five-wicket hauls in his first two Tests. Mohammad Nissar (1932-1933) and Narendra Hirwani (1988) are the two Indian bowlers who did so before the left-arm spinner.
Axar Patel’s six-for makes him the first Indian spinner to pick up a five-wicket haul in a pink-ball Test. His figures of 6 for 38 are the second-best by a spinner in a day-night Test; Devendra Bishoo had figures of 8 for 49 against Pakistan in the Dubai day-nighter in 2016-17.
Lauding Axar Patel for his performance, former India spinner Harbhajan Singh tweeted:
“Local boy axar.. What a performance @akshar2026 keep going #PinkBallTest #INDvENG.”
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar termed Axar Patel a 'real find' in Tests, posting on his Twitter account:
“Just brilliant with accuracy, speed and his biggest weapon, that arm-ball going straight on a turner.. Axar has been a real find for India in Tests. #PinkBallTest.”
Lauding both Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, VVS Laxman said that India look set to drive home the advantage in Ahmedabad, posting in this regard:
"Brilliant day for Team India, thanks to exceptional bowling from @akshar2026 and @ashwinravi99. With just 13 runs behind, @ImRo45 batting on 57 and the depth in the batting lineup, India are well placed to drive home the advantage."
After bowling England out for 112, India ended Day 1 on 99 for 3, with Rohit Sharma unbeaten on a watchful 57.