“Axar Patel has been a real find for India in Tests” - Sanjay Manjrekar 

Axar Patel. Pic: ICC
Axar Patel. Pic: ICC
Modified 24 Feb 2021

Former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar termed left-arm spinner Axar Patel a 'real find for India' following his second consecutive five-wicket haul in as many Tests.

Axar Patel took a wicket with his very first ball at his home ground, trapping Jonny Bairstow lbw for a duck. He went on to take five scalps - Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes - to finish with excellent figures of 6 for 38 off 21.4 overs.

Impressed with the left-arm spinner’s performance, Manjrekar posted on Twitter:

“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.”

Apart from Axar Patel, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also picked up 3 for 26 in 16 overs to help India roll over England for a paltry 112 in 48.4 overs.

India legend Sachin Tendulkar also praised Axar Patel. With reference to the 25th over of England’s innings in which he trapped England half-centurion Zak Crawley, Tendulkar wrote:

“What an over from Axar! Best one of the match so far.!”

Axar Patel joins an illustrious list with second five-for.

With his second five-wicket haul in as many Tests, Axar Patel became only the third Indian bowler to take five-fors in both his first two games in the longest format of the game.

Mohammad Nissar (1932-1933) and Narendra Hirwani (1988) are the only other Indian bowlers to achieve the feat before Axar Patel.

Moreover, the 27-year-old has become the first Indian spinner to claim a five-wicket haul in a day-night Test. Ishant Sharma had picked up a five-for in India’s first-ever pink-ball Test, doing so against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in November 2019.

Earlier in the series, Axar Patel claimed 5 for 60 in the second innings of the second Test in Chennai to help India beat England by 317 runs to draw parity.

In the ongoing pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad, Rohit Sharma’s led India's response to England's 112 with a half-century after the hosts lost Shubman Gill for 11 and Cheteshwar Pujara for a duck.

Gill top-edged a short ball from Jofra Archer, while Pujara was trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Jack Leach. Before the close of play, captain Virat Kohli was cleaned up by Leach as India reached 99-3 at stumps.

India will look to eke out a significant first-innings advantage and put pressure on the visitors. The hosts need to win the series to reach the final of the inaugural World Test Championship final.

Published 24 Feb 2021
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