The first Test’s double-centurion Root walked out with his team in a precarious position at 16-2, and the ball turning square for Axar Patel. In the 11th over against Patel, the English captain went for his go-to shot off the first ball – the sweep – and collected 2.
He defended the second ball but couldn’t control his instincts and went for the sweep again on the 3rd. This time, however, the ball landed on the rough outside off-stump and turned massively away from the right-hander. Root lost his balance and could only offer a top edge to short fine leg.
Ravichandran Ashwin gobbled up an easy catch to award Axar Patel a well-deserved wicket on debut. You can watch the full video here:
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Credit also goes to Virat Kohli and Team India’s tactical planning. Ashwin was placed exactly for that shot. Moreover, India started the innings with Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin bowling from either end. But as soon as Root came to bat, Kohli brought on Axar Patel.
Joe Root’s spin prowess made him the biggest fish in the opposition line-up, and Axar Patel’s wicket has put India right on top in the 2nd Test.
Earlier in the day, Ishant Sharma sent back opener Rory Burns for a duck off the 3rd ball of the innings. The other opener, Dom Sibley, didn’t stick around for too long either. Sibley was dismissed playing the sweep as well. An Ashwin delivery bounced off his pads and the back of his bat before being taken by a diving Kohli at leg slip.
The combination of Axar Patel’s pinpoint accuracy and Ashwin’s cunning variations has made the target of 329 look like a herculean task for the visitors. If they want to get anywhere near this total, it will require a miraculous effort from Ben Stokes and Co.