The fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad ended with India winning the encounter in a mere three days. Team India’s 3-1 series win sealed their spot in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, where they will face New Zealand. India won the Test match by an innings and 25 runs to win the coveted Anthony de Mello Trophy. The home team had to bat only once whereas the English team struggled to survive and fought with the demons of the third Test.
Let’s try to understand what all happened in this fast-paced Test through our five talking points from the game.
AXAR STRIKES AGAIN
Axar Patel is enjoying the time of his life. He emerged as a star for Team India and continued to impress in the series. England were not able to find the right solution to his arm-balls and wicket-taking deliveries. Axar also equalled Dilip Doshi’s record for most wickets for India in debut Test series. With the way he is bowling, Shoaib Akhtar went on to say that he might just become the fastest to reach 100 wickets in Test cricket.
His 27 wickets in just three matches in his debut series proved crucial for the team as they secured their way in the World Test Championship.
A hundred for the ages. When the wicketkeeper-batsman walked in to bat in the fourth Test, India were at 80/4. Rishabh Pant changed the game with his 118-ball 101 as the 23-year old continued his stunning form in Test cricket. The southpaw formed a crucial partnership with Washington Sundar to put Team India in the front seat.
One of the best moments of the match was his outrageous reverse sweep off James Anderson. That shot was audacious, adventurous and an absolute freak. Even, the mighty Anderson and Stokes were impressed with the innovative shot. It seemed like he was saving his best for the biggest-occasion in his career.
HEARTBREAK FOR WASHINGTON
Washington Sundar wasn’t even the first choice all-rounder for this series. However, Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the series and Sundar made it to the squad to take on the Englishmen. His super batting display of 96* was enough to show how special he is as a batsman. He may have gained attention as a T20 specialist spinner in the world, but it was his batting heroics that garnered him praise in this series.
It was the second time in this series that he was denied a well-deserved century. This time, he was not out at 96 when he watched the last four balls from the non-striker’s end. It was a heartbreak from him. However, Sundar’s Test record is exceptional as he already has three fifties in six innings, two of them unbeaten. And it’s fair to say that the time will come soon when he will score his first century for the nation.
ANDERSON AND STOKES WERE OUTSTANDING
Though England lost the fourth Test match quite easily, the performance of Jimmy Anderson and Ben Stokes truly stood out for their team. The true giants of the English cricket bowled beautifully to support the out-of-form Dom Bess’ return to the starting XI. Nothing can be taken away from their outstanding efforts. Combined, they bowled 53 overs in the first innings and took seven wickets while sharing the majority of the load. It is noteworthy to mention that 20 out of those 53 overs were maiden to put pressure on the Indian team.
The excellence of Jimmy Anderson and Ben Stokes kept England in this game for the first two sessions, but they needed support to go through the Indian batting order in their home conditions.
LACK OF APPLICATION WITH THE BAT BY THE ENGLISH SIDE
The first game was a positive one for the English side but they were completely outplayed in the rest of the series. The pitch for the fourth Test was a good pitch to bat on. After a disappointing first innings by England, the Indian batsmen showed application and played for nearly 115 overs.
The English team must have been expecting a better show in the second innings but they had no clue about how to play the spin duo of Axar and Ashwin. They shared 17 wickets in the fourth Test and it was the best pitch in this entire series. England must be disappointed that they won the toss and still couldn’t capitalise on it while batting first and scoring big.
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