Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 24 (ANI): India all-rounder Axar Patel, who spun a web over the visitors on Wednesday, was well prepared for the pink-ball challenge against England in the third Test.
Axar, playing in just his second Test, scalped six wickets on the first day of the day-night Test. This was Axar’s second five-wicket haul in a row as he had scalped five in the second innings of the second Test as well.
And the all-rounder admitted that he was riding on the confidence from the second Test and focused on bowling a consistent line and length.
“I didn’t expect to take six wickets on the opening day because didn’t know whether we would be bowling or batting on the first day. But I was prepared as I had taken five wickets in the last too. And was bowling well so I was prepared to bowl with the pink ball as well. Didn’t know about what pink-ball brings to the table but had confidence in my line and length and it paid off,” said Axar while replying to a query from ANI in a virtual press conference.
Ishant Sharma playing the 100th Test provided India with the first breakthrough and after the first wicket, the spinners took over the mantle from the pacer. Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar spun a web over visitors to bundled out them for 112 in the first innings.
“When the fast bowlers were bowling they were facing trouble while landing during the run-up. So I was called on early to a bowl and I think the pink ball has a little glare due to which the ball was skidding. So I think the ball skid more than Chennai in Ahmedabad,” said Axar.
Even after playing in front of the home crowd, Axar didn’t feel that the hosts had any advantage on the opening day of the first Test.
“Home advantage was there but since I was playing after five years and that too on a new wicket not much advantage was felt. However, if you look at the Gujarati crowd we had, it gave me a sense of having the home advantage but if you keep that factor aside it was evenly poised for the two sides,” said Axar.
India ended the opening day of the pink-ball Test against England in the driver’s seat as Rohit hit fifty to take the hosts at 99/3. India is trailing by 13 runs in the first innings with seven wickets in the bag.
After surviving the five overs in the tricky twilight phase and then battling out for 14.5 overs and India lost their first wicket off the last ball of the 15th overs when Jofra Archer dismissed Shubman Gill for a 51-ball 11.
He skied an attempted pull to give Zak Crawley an easy catch. Minutes later, the hosts lost Cheteshwar Pujara as he was trapped in front by Jack Leach.
Meanwhile, Rohit continued his good form and completed his half-century. Rohit and Kohli also brought up the fifty runs partnership to steady the Indian ship after two quick wickets. But Leach struck again to break the 64-run stand for the third wicket as Kohli chopped the ball onto his stumps. (ANI)

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