By Khurram Habib (IANS) A stroke of luck due to the soft landing area on the pitch for fast bowlers at the Ambani End helped India left-arm spinner Axar Patel get early use of the brand new ball and take six wickets in England’s first innings — the second best spell in a day-night Test by a spinner — on the first day of the third Test on Wednesday.
“When the fast bowlers were bowling there was a trough in the landing area so there was a problem the length of the ball right. So I had to come in early,” said the left-arm spinner.
“I think the pink ball has glare which is why it was skidding off the wicket. Because of that I got leg-before wicket decision. I think the difference in pink and red ball was that the former was skidding more than the latter did at the Chennai wicket,” added Patel who is playing this Test at his home venue.
Patel was brought in as early as the seventh over and responded with a wicket of Jonny Bairstow on the first ball of his first over. He bowled 21.4 for his six wickets.
“When the ball is skidding, you try to bowl wicket to wicket. So (in that case) if somebody plays little back to a ball that is full, then you get leg before or bowled. I was talking to Ash (R Ashwin who took three wickets) and said that only one or two balls are turning, the rest are skidding. Our plan was to bowl wicket to wicket,” Patel said.
“I was trying to bowl fast because it was skidding more. New ball…I wanted to take advantage of. Old ball wasn’t skidding that much.”
The 27-year-old spinner said that the five-wicket hail in the second innings of the second Test had given him confidence to perform well.
“I was confident because I had taken five wickets in the last match and I had confidence that I’d be able to bowl well with pink ball whether there is help or not. I knew I can put batsmen in trouble.”