Why Axar Patel’s performance was just as important as Kuldeep Yadav’s

After doing all the hard work on Day 4, India needed just 48 minutes on Sunday to clear Bangladesh’s remaining four wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series. The second game starting in Mirpur on Thursday will be no easy feat, especially given the hosts’ recent record at the venue and the fact that it remains one of the most challenging venues in Bangladesh thanks to its slowness and the amount of turns required. to be.

All said and done, as India heads to Mirpur again – a venue where they lost two ODIs on the trot earlier on the tour – they will ride confidently. And while it remains a guess, Deputy Captain KL Rahul revealed that a call on the availability of skipper Rohit Sharma will be out in a few days.

For now, their team masseurs would be busiest on Sunday when they all gather to watch the World Cup final between Argentina and France. The bowling group would certainly have a few whose shoulders desperately need a massage, with 113.2 overs in the fourth innings. For a team that has played mostly only whiteball cricket lately, this victory would feel a bit special, even if one ignores the opposition, as it came after a slight wobble on the first morning and the way they rebounded with bat and ball. . Test cricket is all about grabbing those big moments, and while it must be in the muscle memory for the players, crossing the line would be special indeed, especially as they play their first Test since July.

The 188-point victory margin is huge, but it doesn’t say how much India had to fight for it, especially on Day 4 when the field had flattened out. “That’s Test cricket,” Rahul replied to a question about how India had to be patient to get the 10 Bangladesh wickets in the second innings. “You’re never going to get a win that’s going to be easy. We know that. We’ve played enough Test Cricket to understand that there will be phases where the opponent plays well too. We must respect that and continue to do our job. I am very proud of that. During the test match, our energy and intensity was very high, and we kept it up all day.

Over the past five days we have shown great dedication to the team. We haven’t played Test cricket in a while so there was some concern in the Test match about how the bodies would react and how we would manage to be in the park for so long and maintain our focus and intensity. We did that very well, and that’s nice,” added Rahul.

In terms of takeaway, especially with regard to India’s prospects of reaching the World Test Championship, the performances of Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Shubman Gill would satisfy the team leadership. While Kuldeep’s spell in the first innings helped India to bowl Bangladesh out in 55.5 overs, the batting unit’s aggression in the second innings, especially by Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara, proved crucial as it gave them enough time to take 10 wickets grab.

“It gave us a lot of time in the Test,” Rahul said of Kuldeep’s five-for in the first innings. “If Bangladesh made 300-350, this game would be heading for a draw. Yes, we had tried to make a game of it and give ourselves a chance, but that would have been very difficult. Once you bowl a team out for 150 you have a lot of time to hit another 50-60 overs, score some quick runs and get them back to bat for two days or so and that gave our bowlers time to get them out to get,” said Rahul.

One achievement that would slip under the radar is Axar’s. When Taijul Islam became Axar’s fourth victim in the innings, it took him past teammate R Ashwin for most wickets by an Indian in the first seven Tests. The all-rounder now has 44 at an average of 13 and takes a wicket every 35.3 overs. This was his first test outside India, but as the conditions were still similar to those at home, he made sure the team would not miss Ravindra Jadeja. And that in itself should make Axar feel very much at home.

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