'They were either bowled or out LBW': Tendulkar calls India bowler 'brilliant' for his performance against England
- Indian spinners combined to pick up 19 wickets against England in the third Test in Ahmedabad.
India spinners had a field day in the third Test against England in Ahmedabad, which finished in less than two days. The Indian spin trio of R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Washington Sundar combined to pick 19 England wickets in the match, while the only wicket that fell to pace belonged to Ishant Sharma. India smartly included three spinners, while England banked on one front-line spinner in Jack Leach, which, in hindsight, did not work in the best of interests for Joe Root's team.
While R Ashwin continued his brilliant form from the second Test in Chennai, picking up seven wickets in the match, it was Axar Patel's performance that had everyone talking. After bagging a maiden five-wicket-haul on his Test debut, Axar was unplayable and finished with 11 wickets in the match – 6/38 in the first innings and 5/32 in the second – as India bundled out England for 112 and 81 in the two innings.
Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar explained the reason behind Axar's success, saying that contrary to the general consensus of pitching the ball up and giving it air, the left-arm spinner did something different given the nature of the pitch, which worked brilliantly for him.
“When a left-arm spinner is bowling to a right-hander, then he cannot bowl outside off stump. The length is important but the line becomes even more important. So the line of a left-arm spinner against right-handed batsman has to be on off and middle so you cannot leave the ball,” Tendulkar said on a video posted on his YouTube channel.
“Even if the ball is turning, you have to play because the odd one will go through and that is what happened. There were batters who were looking to play marginally behind the line and there were those who were trying to cover the spin. The ones who tried to cover were either bowled or out LBW.”
England found a surprise bowler in Joe Root, who with his off-spin dismantled India’s first innings, picking up his maiden First-Class five-wicket haul. Root finished with 5/8 as India lost five wickets for 11 runs to be skittled for 145. Tendulkar found Root putting the same kind of effort as Axar, but failed to spot it in Leach.
"The left arm spinner’s speed, the trajectory, the angle becomes important. It’s not one of those surfaces where you’ll toss the ball up and then as we say buy a wicket. If the wicket is offering assistance, what you need to do is not give batsmen enough time to adjust," Tendulkar added.
“And Axar was brilliant at that. Since we’re talking of left-arm spinners, I did not find Leach doing that consistently. He was still trying to toss up the ball, but on this surface, you need to push the ball through a bit.”