The duo of Axar Patel and R Ashwin spun its web against England at the newly renamed Narendra Modi Stadium as hosts India took a 2-1 lead in the four-Test series, wrapping up the Day-Night Test on the second day on a rank turner in Ahmedabad. Indian spinners took 19 of the 20 England scalps on the Motera wicket, leaving the visitors' batsmen baffled on a tricky surface.
Local boy Axar took a match haul of 11 for 70 -- 6/38 in the first innings and 5/32 in the second -- and was adjudged the Man of the Match. Ashwin, on the other hand, reached the 400-wicket mark in the longest format of the game.
Meanwhile, legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has explained how Axar dominated the English batsmen. Being a left-arm spinner, Axar effectively used the surface and stuck to his stump-to-stump line with the pink cherry.
“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 a right-handed batsman has to be on the 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.”
On Jack Leach's bowling approach, Tendulkar said that the tweaker was trying to toss up the ball instead of pushing it. Skipper Joe Root was the surprise pick among England bowlers as he registered 5/8, picking up his maiden First-class five-wicket haul.
"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.
“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," Tendulkar added.