Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin predictably completed the annihilation of clueless England batsmen, emphatically bringing India back in contention for the World Test Championship final with a series-levelling 317-run victory in the second Test on Tuesday.
Debutant Patel made full use of favourable conditions to bag 5 for 60 in 21 overs while Ashwin finished with a match-haul of eight wickets, not to forget his classy hundred with the bat, demolishing England for a paltry 164 on the fourth day in pursuit of an impossible 482-run target.
India have risen to second in the WTC standings and need to at least win one more and draw another in the four-match series to make the cut for the final in June.
After a crushing 227-run defeat in the first Test, Virat Kohli couldn’t have imagined a better comeback going into the crucial Day/Night Test in Ahmedabad in just over a week’s time.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, he said, “The conditions were challenging for both sides, but we showed more application with the bat. We didn’t panic out there looking at the turn and bounce, we showed grit, got into the game and scored 600 runs in the game. We know our bowlers would do the job for us if we put up these runs. The toss wouldn’t have mattered much in this game to be honest, because if you looked at our second innings, we got 300 as well.
Superb character and fighting spirit on display.🙌 Well done boys. The focus is now on the next one. 🇮🇳💪 pic.twitter.com/TEVceiOhYM
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) February 16, 2021
It wasn’t unfair if the toss went either way. Both teams should be in the game from the first session onwards, whether it is on spinning to seaming tracks, and that exactly was the case in this game.”
Toss was far more crucial in the first Test. Since the conditions were flat for the first two days. In this Test, both teams were in the contest from ball-1 on the first day. Toss will always make a difference but it wasn’t as important as it’s made out to be. #IndvEng
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) February 16, 2021
Hailing Rishabh Pant for his impressive glovework, Kohli said, “Rishabh Pant has really worked hard in Australia when he moves with the gloves you can see the difference in his reactions. He has shed a lot of weight and has worked hard on himself. It is showing, the way he kept with so much turn and bounce, credit to him. We want him to keep improving as a keeper because we know the value he brings to the team.”
Kohli also had a word of compliment for debutant Axar Patel. “It is a very, very special moment for Axar. He would’ve played the first game as well if he didn’t have that niggle. He was keen to step on, and if you get that kind of pitch, he was all smiles and couldn’t wait to get the ball in his hands. Hope he builds on from here, he has an important couple of games ahead.”