Axar, Ashwin spin themselves into record books as India thump England by 10 wkts
India vs England: Axar became the first bowler to take 11 wickets in a pink ball Test while Ashwin became the fastest Indian to pick 400 Test wickets as the hosts took a 2-1 series lead.
'Spin to win' has been the mantra for Team India on home soil for a while now and they reaped rich rewards for this strategy on Thursday as Virat Kohli's men decimated England to one of their quickest Test defeats in Ahmedabad. Just a day after the world's biggest cricket stadium was inaugurated amid much fanfare, India bowled England out for the second time in consecutive days and eventually won the match by 10 wickets to take a 2-1 series lead.
The second day started with the hosts coming out to bat on their overnight first innings score of 99/3, still trailing England by 13 runs. With Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle, India were expected to take a big first innings lead.
But that wasn't to happen as Jack Leach removed the overnight pair cheaply to bring England back into the contest. The match though took a dramatic turn when England captain Joe Root decided to introduce himself into the attack.
Root's part-time off spin proved effective immediately as he removed Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel in quick succession and at one point had figures of 0/3.
He continued to trouble the tailenders and picked up the wickets of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah to register his maiden Test fifer, as India collapsed to 145 all-out and took a lead of just 33 runs.
England were expected to struggle in their second innings too but the extent of it became known once Axar Patel bowled the first over. He cleaned up Zak Crawley off the very first delivery, had an LBW shout against Jonny Bairstow turned down off the next ball and then clean bowled Bairstow off the next to leave the visitors reeling.
Dom Sibley paid the price for trying to break the shackles as he edged one to Rishabh Pant off Axar again. Skipper Joe Root and Ben Stokes tried to brave it out in the middle and Stokes got a few boundaries away as R Ashwin looked ineffective from the other end.
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Stokes (25) though was trapped in front by Ashwin soon, which broke the 31-run stand. It was the 11th time the left-hander had been dismissed by the off spinner in Test cricket. Axar then caught Root plumb in front of the wicket and that opened the flood gates.
Ashwin dismissed Ollie Pope and Jofra Archer to become the second fastest bowler to pick up 400 Test wickets. Axar completed his third straight five-wicket haul in consecutive innings by sending back Ben Foakes and also became the first bowler to pick up 11 wickets in an innings in a pink ball Test match.
Ashwin got Jack Leach to edge one to pick up his fourth of the innings while Washington Sundar dismissed James Anderson as England were bowled out for 81, to register their lowest ever Test score against India, beating the previous low of 101 set at The Oval in 1971 in what was a historic series win for India.
India openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill reached the target of 49 runs without much problem as India recorded a famous victory and stayed on course to qualify for the World Test Championship, for which they need to either draw or win the final Test which will be played at the same venue.
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