Spinner Axar Patel picked his maiden five-wicket haul on his Test debut as India beat England by 317 runs on Day 4 to end the latter's six-match winning streak and level the four-match Test series 1-1.
The Virat Kohli-led Team India started the day needing seven wickets to win, and Patel skimmed through England's batting line-up to restrict them to a mere 164 runs following a brief carnage wreaked by all-rounder Moeen Ali.
After having won the toss and elected to bat, India posted 329 runs on the board, with Rohit Sharma scoring a sumptuous 231-ball 161 while Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant got their half-centuries. England were expected to put in a decent fight but the visitors bowed down to the spinning genius of Ravichandran Ashwin, who not only picked five wickets in the first innings but also scored a brilliant century in the second innings. England were restricted to 134, meaning that India resumed their second innings with a hefty lead.
India lost their batsmen in quick succession before Kohli and Ashwin steadied the ship with a 96-run stand. The off-spinner continued his carnage with the ball alongside Axar Patel to remove England's opening pair, before the latter got his maiden five-wicket haul. Patel was rightly praised for his efforts, which saw him getting better of England captain Joe Root in both the innings, and this is how the fans reacted to it.
Axar Patel has been unplayable at times on this pitch. Joe Root could do nothing.— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) February 16, 2021
In all previous 7 Tests, Root had hit at least one 50+ score in India. This streak is now broken
Five-wicket haul for Axar Patel on his Test debut - 9th Indian - Missed out first Test due to injury and what a way to make the return.— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) February 16, 2021
Axar Patel becomes the second Indian left-arm spinner to take five wickets on Test debut.— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) February 16, 2021
First bowler: Dilip Doshi v Australia at Chennai
Spinners to take five wickets on debut
VV Kumar in 1961
Doshi in 1979
Hirwani in 1988
Mishra in 2008
R Ashwin in 2011
Axar in 2021
AXAR PATEL!— Bumble (@FervidCrickster) February 16, 2021
Where were you hidden for so long, mate? You beauty! #INDvENG
There was praise for Ravichandran Ashwin too, as it was his third instance where picked a five-fer and scored a century.
🏴: it’s a bad pitch— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) February 15, 2021
🇮🇳: ‘Ravichandran Ashwin scores a ton’
This is one of the greatest Test match centuries I have ever watched... on a supposedly ‘unplayable’ pitch. Take a bow @ashwinravi99 - magnificent display of skill & resilience. #INDvENG 👏 pic.twitter.com/fIJhZSpSsK— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 15, 2021
Meanwhile, with England reeling, Moeen Ali took the Indian spinners to the cleaners, hitting a fantastic 18-ball 43 before Kuldeep Yadav caught him in a stumping.
Moeen Ali showing how to bat on this pitch to his teammates. Brutal striking.— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) February 16, 2021
Moeen Ali is England's leading runscorer and wicket-taker in this Test.— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) February 16, 2021
It's taken 13 balls – 6 of them dots, 4 of them sixes – for Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad to bring up England's biggest partnership of the innings, 27. Very possibly England's most fun batsmen to watch ever.— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) February 16, 2021
A victory by 317 runs is now India's biggest win in terms of runs against England in Test cricket. This is how the fans and players are reacting to the win:
Let's set aside the fab performances so far in this series for a moment.. To me the biggest plus to emerge from both tests is the valuable lessons @RishabhPant17 will learn as a keeper.. Reactions getting better already.. @JockMore #INDvsENG @StarSportsIndia— W V Raman #TheWinningSixer (@wvraman) February 16, 2021
Only fitting that we end the Test with a final example of why you pick your best keeper— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) February 16, 2021
We all need to band together and send Kuldeep a mental hug, don’t we? #INDvENG— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) February 16, 2021
One game each. This series has so much more drama and narrative to come. Compelling yo say the least. I can’t wait for the next two matches. #INDvsENG— Ian bishop (@irbishi) February 16, 2021
The last partnership was 38,highest for England in the match !! 317 run victory is more than a hammering ... #INDvsENG !! Well played India ... Too much skill for England this week ...— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 16, 2021
Very very contrasting returns with the sweep shot for England in the two Tests!!!#INDvENG— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) February 16, 2021
How will England's next wicket fall?— Greg Baum (@GregBaum) February 16, 2021
Let's run a sweep.#INDvsENG
Kuldeep Yadav will never forget his first wicket on his second debut.#IndvEng— Gaurav Sethi (@BoredCricket) February 16, 2021
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @BCCI