It was a manic day’s play in Ahmedabad where spin reigned supreme. An astonishing 17 wickets fell across the day as India won the second test match inside two days to go 2-1 up in the four test match series. The pitch in Motera offered some extra assistance for the spinners, which provided for some exciting cricket on the field as the match continued to ebb and flow throughout the second day.
India started the day in a comfortable position in the Test Match at 99-3 with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. Unfortunately for the hosts, their batting line-up completely capitulated in the afternoon session at the hands of Jack Leach and Joe Root. Rahane and Rohit were both trapped LBW at the crease off Jack Leach by the dangerous ball that went straight.
India was then stunned by the brilliance of Joe Root, who ran through the rest of the Indian batting line up to pick up the first five-wicket haul of his career. Root ended up with the astonishing figures of 5-8 in only 6.2 overs. He picked up the wickets of left-handers Pant, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel in the first two overs of his spell and also cleaned up India’s tail with his loopy off-spinners. After being in a commanding position at 113-3 India unceremoniously ended up being dismissed for only 145, taking a lead of only 33.
Regrettably England’s hopes of a comeback were quickly diminished as they got to the crease in their second innings. Axar Patel gave India the perfect start after picking up two wickets in the first three deliveries of the innings. Both Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow were caught playing for the turn and ended up losing their middle stump. Dom Sibley didn’t last too long either and was once again dismissed playing the sweep shot. Joe Root and Ben Stokes were able to stem the flow of wickets for a short period and were able to string together a decent partnership that offered England some hope.
However, it didn’t last long as R Ashwin got the breakthrough India needed after taking the wicket of Stokes for the 11th time in Test Cricket. Joe Root fell soon after to give Axar Patel his first 10-wicket haul in Tests in only his second outing. Ollie Pope’s torturous time at the crease was also cut short by R Ashwin who dismissed him with another peach of a delivery that crashed into his off-stump. The Indian spinners gleefully wrapped up the rest of the tail to bowl England out for 81, their lowest score in Test Cricket against India.
This left India with only 49 runs to get and Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill did so with relative ease with Rohit sealing the victory in style with a six over midwicket. This was only the second time a Test Match in India finished in two days and was the shortest Test match in history in terms of overs since World War II. While the pitch did play a considerable factor, the batting on both sides was far from desirable while the bowling from Axar and Ashwin, in particular, was elite.
This victory means that England can no longer reach the World Test Match Championship final in the summer while India will need only a draw or victory in the fourth test to qualify. If England however does win the final match next week, Australia will face New Zealand at Lord’s in June.