After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Joe Root was left disappointed as his side capitulated in embarrasing fashion in both innings. England managed only 193 runs over the course of the Test match, with Ravichandran Ashwin playing an excellent supporting hand and reaching the milestone of 400 Test wickets in the process.
India have now taken a 2-1 lead in the 4-match series, with the final Test scheduled to be played at the same venue. The hosts need either a draw or a win in the 4th Test to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship.
Here are 3 positives for India from their comprehensive win over England in the 3rd Test.
In the past, India under Virat Kohli have been rather inconsistent with their team selection and plans with the ball in hand. But in the 3rd Test against Ahmedabad, they ticked every box in the above two categories.
India made the brave call of dropping Kuldeep Yadav for Washington Sundar, and although the off-spinner contributed only one wicket, the objective behind the move was achieved. The batting lineup was strengthened, and the lead India took with some handy runs at the death was crucial.
With the ball, India’s plans were superb. The spinners attacked the stumps constantly, letting the pitch and natural variation do the talking. The close-in catchers were perfectly positioned, while there were one or two fielders in the deep for the sweep and the loft.
India came into the Test match with a clear understanding of the conditions, as well as solid plans with the ball. They will look to continue the same in the 4th Test.
The last two Tests in Chennai and Ahmedabad have been on difficult pitches to bat on. But Indian opener Rohit Sharma has been in a league of his own across the two games.
Rohit stroked his way to a daddy hundred in the first innings of the 2nd Test before contributing a few handy runs in the second innings as well, and his form continued into this game. The 33-year-old notched up a composed fifty in the first innings, and followed it up by taking India across the line unscathed in the run-chase.
Effective with his sweeps and decisive with his footwork, Rohit has by far been the best batsman on show across the two teams. He has been severe on any loose balls, and has been able to change the tempo of his innings at will.
All teams have large contingents owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and India reaped the benefits of the same in Australia. A number of fringe players have stepped up in the recent past, with the latest example being Axar Patel.
After missing the first Test due to an injury, Axar has taken the series by storm. And on his home ground in Ahmedabad, the left-arm spinner was unplayable en route to a 11-wicket haul and the Man of the Match award.
Axar’s arm ball and subtle variations in pace were impossible to contend with for the English batsmen, who fell like nine pins across both innings. He demonstrated the strength India have on their bench – even a player who had never played Test cricket before has been able to take 18 wickets in his first two matches.
Axar is only in the team as long as Ravindra Jadeja is out, but he has done enough to push himself up to third in the spin pecking order.