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INDIA WINS 3RD TEST AT NARENDRA MODI CRICKET STADIUM IN AHMEDABAD

@Rakesh Agarwal

The newly built Narendra Modi Cricket stadium in Ahmedabad proved lucky for India. England was badly humiliated in the 3rd Day-Night Test and was routed in just two days. The second pink-ball Test on home soil, after November 2019 played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata against Bangladesh started on 24 February, after it was inaugurated by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind with the Home Minister Amit Shah and State Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiran Rijiju in tow. It was also the 100th Test match for Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who was presented a special cap and a memento by the President for his achievement before the start of the match. The pink ball used in this match was made by SG. The toss was won by England and they opted to bat first.  Ishant Sharma celebrated his 100th Test cap by claiming the England opener Dom Sibley wicket for naught on the third ball of the third over of the Indian bowling. Captain Virat Kohli tossed the ball to bowl the 7th over to Axar Patel, the left arm spinner who was playing his second Test to bowl from the Reliance end. The first ball, which Axar Patel bowled to Johny Bairstow pitched on the good length spot of the middle stump line. The batsman tried to play it defensively but was plumb before the wicket and England was 27 for the loss of 2 wickets. The DRS could also not save him. Thereafter captain Joe Root with opener Zak Crawley tried to build the innings but once he was out, it were just the game of Indian spinners wrecking the English team. Root and Crawley made 47 runs for the 3rd wicket when Root (17) got out. Crawley was next to go after well made 53. The England team was all out for 112 runs in 48.4 overs. Axar Patel claimed 6 wickets for 38 runs in 21.4 overs with an economy of 1.75, while the seasoned campaigner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 3 wickets giving away only 26 runs in 16 overs at an economy of 1.62.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill started Indian innings and Gill (11) was out at the team score of 33. The Indian innings ended on 99 for 3 after further fall of Pujara (0) and captain Virat Kohli (27) wickets.  Rahane (1*) and Rohit Sharma (57*) started the second day’s play but were soon out at (7) and (66) individual scores respectively. Pant (1) could also not stay for long. The only little resistance came from Ashwin (17) and Ishant Sharma (10) at the end and the Indian team was all out for 145 runs in 53.2 overs, with a lead of 33 runs. The Indian first innings will always be etched in the memory of England captain, who bowled a dream spell of 6.3-3-8-5 at an economy of 1.26. He made a history by picking up the most economical five-wicket haul by a spinner in the Test history. The previous record was held jointly by Australians Tim May and Michael Clarke with 5 for 9 against West Indies (Adelaide Test 1992/93) and India (Mumbai Test 2004/05). Root’s bowling figures are also the best for England, bettering Ian Botham’s 5 for 11 at Edgbaston in 1981. He is also the first England captain to pick up a five-wicket haul in Tests since Bob Willis’s 5 for 35 against New Zealand in 1983. With such a feat by the rival captain, it was turn of the Indian spinners to compel the England team to surrender so meekly before them. They were all out for 81 runs. Axar Patel took another 5-wicket haul and Ashwin claimed 4 wickets for 32 and 48 runs respectively. Axar’s bowling performance is the best by a spinner in Tests, who took 11 wickets for 70 runs in the match. He also became the third Indian bowler to claim 5 wickets in two consecutive innings after debut. Ashwin also achieved a personal record of claiming fastest 400th Test wickets in only 77  Test matches (9 years 110 days) behind Sri Lanka’s Murali Muralitharan who achieved this feat in 72 Tests (9 years 137 days). The England second innings collapse was worst-ever against India in Tests. Their previous lowest total against India was 101 in the 1971 Oval Test. It took the Indian opener pair of Rohit Sharma (25*) and Shubman Gill (15*) only 7.4 overs to score 49 runs to win the match by 10 wickets even before the end of second day’s play. It was the shortest completed Test match since World War II, shortest on Indian soil in terms of balls bowled (842) and 7th shortest of all time. Axar Patel was adjudged “Man of the Match” while Rohit Sharma earned “Game changer of the Match” award. The pitch which was supposed to favour batsmen helped the spinners. Of the 30 wickets falling in the three completed innings, 28 went to spinners. The England team was done and dusted at Ahmedabad in just two days and is out of World Test Championship. “We will come back and we will use the hurt from this week as motivation going into that last game………. We will come stronger for it.” Said England captain Joe Root after the match. India is 2-1 in the series and has to play a draw to qualify to play the WTC Final against New Zealand. The 4th and final Test match will start at the same stadium from 4 March.



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