Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Axar spins a web to put India in front. Four Tests, five-fors for Axar Patel.
Four Tests, five-fors for Axar Patel.
Four Tests, five-fors – Axar Patel's incredible record in Test cricket so far. Axar's five-wicket haul against New Zealand in Kanpur didn't just reaffirm his spin bowling prowess but also helped India bounce back, with the visitors sliding from 151 for no loss to 296 all out.
It was during the second session when Axar charted a turnaround in India's fortunes. The experienced Ross Taylor was the first of his victims. The 37-year-old had a close shave when KS Bharat couldn't effect a tough stumping chance. Taylor, though, didn't make the opportunity count as he soon edged a delivery that turned away from him. Axar then prised out Henry Nicholls LBW.
The left-arm spinner followed it up by picking the prized scalp of the set Tom Latham for 95. After a long vigil at the crease, the opener lost his concentration as he danced down the deck, only to be stumped. Axar also showcased his bowling smarts by holding his length back and as a result Latham couldn't get to the pitch of the ball.
Tom Blundell, who was intent on lunging forward to almost every delivery, was done in by a ball from Axar that kept low. Axar then rattled Tim Southee's timber to leave the tourists eight down. For a brief period, Kyle Jamieson showed the required temperament as he used his reach and also went right back to collect crucial runs. However, he soon holed out off R Ashwin's bowling. The off-spinner then wrapped up the innings by knocking over Will Somerville's stumps.
It was quite evident that the move to bring Axar into the attack with the second new ball paid rich dividends for the home team. On a slow pitch, he found some extra bite with the new ball. The salient features of his bowling were his ability to bowl quicker through the air and extract more bounce, alongside the randomness he created with his scrambled seam. Bharat, who came in as a substitute for the injured Wriddhiman Saha (neck problem), also played his part in India's fine comeback by grabbing sharp chances.
In contrast to the last two sessions, New Zealand seemed to have the upper hand at the start of the day. The two overnight batters – Latham and Will Young (82) – continued to play percentage cricket to frustrate the Indian spinners. Young in particular played with a sense of purpose as he used his feet and also was ready to play back against the spin trio.
Eventually, Ashwin outfoxed Young by using different angles – round and over the wicket – and induced him to edge one. He could have also dislodged Latham LBW, but India didn't opt for the review. The ball-tracker then suggested that it would crash into the stumps. At the fag end of the first session, Umesh Yadav opened a small window of opportunity for the hosts by trapping Kane Williamson in front. The spinners then grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the next couple of sessions.
Despite losing Shubman Gill before the close of play, India are back in the ascendancy. The track too has started to offer more for the spinners, and New Zealand have the task of batting last on a wearing pitch.
Brief scores: India345 (Shreyas Iyer 105, Shubman Gill 52, Ravindra Jadeja 50; Tim Southee 5-69) and 14/1 (Kyle Jamieson 1-8)lead New Zealand296 (Tom Latham 95, Will Young 89; Axar Patel 5-62)by 63 runs.