Axar Patel's 10-wicket haul (6/38 & 5/32) coupled with R Ashwin's brilliance, helped India complete a dominant 10-wicket win over England inside two days in the third Test. In addition, Rohit Sharma's measured half-century (66) in the first innings was the stand out batting performance. Earlier skipper Joe Root's maiden five-wicket haul had bowled out India for 145 but Axar & Co., in response, dismissed the visitors for a paltry 81. Courtesy a win in this Pink-ball Test, India have taken a 2-1 lead in the series, keeping their chances of reaching the ICC World Test Championship final alive.
England dominate first session on Day 2
Joe Root-led England had a great start to Day 2. Although India were looking well on course to take a mighty first-innings lead, left-arm orthodox Jack Leach picked the wicket of overnight batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma to give his team a foothold in the match. The Test, however, seemed to have turned on its head with Root introducing himself in the attack. With a wicket on the very first ball to get rid of Rishabh Pant, it was the beginning of the end for the Indian batting order.
Root tore through the lower middle order, also going on to claim the wickets of Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah to complete his maiden first-class fifer. India managed a 33-run lead which turned out to be crucial in the context of the match.
Axar to the rescue yet again, Ashwin reaches 400-wicket milestone
While it seemed like England had a reasonably good chance to make a comeback after bundling out India for 145, Axar Patel picked a wicket of the first ball to give India a dream start rattling the wickets of England opener Zak Crawley. Jonny Bairstow survived an LBW call next ball but was out bowled on the next delivery as visitors were 2 down for nothing on the board. Dom Sibley, too, became the victim of the left-arm spinner even before England could level the deficit.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes then shared a 31-run stand to steady the ship briefly for the Three Lions but it was Ashwin's turn to join the party as he outfoxed his bunny Stokes before picking up the wickets of Ollie Pope and Jofra Archer to become the second-quickest to 400-Test wickets, reaching the milestone in his 77th match. Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh are the only other Indians to claim more wickets than him in the longest format of the game. The veteran offie also sent back Jack Leach and with Axar completing his third fifer in his first two Tests and Washington Sundar picking up the last wicket to dismiss England for 81, the Men in Blue were set a target of 49 runs to win.
Rohit Sharma finishes off in style
Rohit (25*) continued his good form from the first innings to help the hosts reach the target with all the 10 wickets in the bag. Shubman too played some free-flowing strokes as India completed the run-chase in the 8th over. The Hitman launched Root for a six to complete the comprehensive win.
Consequently, India have reached the summit of the ICC World Test Championship points table and need to win the final Test of the series to play New Zealand at Lord's later in the year in the finals of the marquee event.