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 here 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.
While critics, mostly from the English side, had panned the pitch but two hundreds and three fifties by the home team batsmen showed that it was all about understanding of conditions and brilliant application from the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ashwin, Kohli and Rishabh Pant.
From the visitors’ own ranks, No. 9 Moeen Ali went on a six-hitting spree in his 18-ball 43 to show the ones above him in the order how it is done on a dust bowl.
The Indian team currently is so strong that it could afford to rest its best pacer Jasprit Bumrah, miss out its premier all-rounder Ravindra jadeja but yet make a telling statement, nullifying any advantage that England team might have possessed.
Opener Rohit should come in for special mention considering the start that India needed after the first Test disaster. Rohit set the tone and then it was a Test match that Ashwin will remember forever.
Young Rishabh Pant, whose glovework at times invites unnecessary scrutiny, pulled off a lovely stumping to get rid of Dan Lawrence (26 off 53 balls) off Ashwin.