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India vs England, 3rd Test: Joe Root’s fifer and Ashwin’s 400 major takeaways from Day 2

For a single day of Test cricket, Day 2 of the India vs England third Test at Motera gave us a lot to breathe in.

It was a bizarre end to what had been a much-hyped Test match as India clinched the third game against England in just over five sessions, making it the shortest Test since World War II. Starting the day at 99/3, the Indian team failed to gain a sizeable lead as they were shot out for 145. In reply, England could manage only 81, leaving India with a target of 49 that was chased down without much ado. India earn two-day triumph following Axar’s 11-wicket heroics

We look at the major takeaways from Day 2 that saw 17 wickets fall. 

Joe Root picks up a fifer 

After misreading the pitch terribly and going in with just a lone spinner, England needed their skipper Joe Root to raise his game with the ball on the day. He did just that as he walked away with figures of 5-8 in just 6.2 overs – his maiden fifer in First-class cricket as well as the best figures by an England bowler. He picked up Rishabh Pant with the first ball of his spell; set up Washington Sundar up perfectly; undid R Ashwin with the bounce; and got the wickets of Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah to cap off a memorable day. 

Axar Patel continues his sizzling form 

Axar Patel got a ten-wicket haul in the game as he followed up his 6-38 in the first innings with 5-32 in the second. Much has been spoken about Axar hurrying the batsmen, and his ability to switch between his arm and stock ball with ease. Combined with varying release points and pace, Axar has now emerged as the third spinner, overtaking Kuldeep Yadav and Sundar, who was included in the game mostly for his batting. Four of his wickets in the second innings were either bowled or LBW, which further suggests how lethan Axar is with the straighter one that slides in after landing. 

Ashwin and his 400 milestone 

Over the past few seasons, Ashwin has emerged as a great in Test cricket. He became the fastest Indian bowler and the second-fastest overall to scalp 400 Test wickets when he trapped Jofra Archer leg-before with the second ball of the 24th over. He needed just 77 Tests to get to the milestone of 400 wickets, and became only the fourth Indian, after Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, to reach the landmark. 

Ashwin’s record at home deserves special mention. In 46 Tests, he has picked up 278 wickets, including 23 five-wicket hauls at an average of 22.19. Not only does he have the third-best average among spinners at home (after Muttiah Muralitharan and Ravindra Jadeja) but also has the fourth-most five-fors (after Muralitharan, Rangana Herath and Kumble).

This postgraduate in English Literature from Kolkata has taken on the tough task of limiting the mystic world of cricket to a few hundred words. A firm believer that Kohli is a wizard with the willow, she spends her time awaiting the next Indian spring triumph.

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