Axar Patel Bowls Faster Than Jadeja: Virat Kohli
Handling the glossy new pink ball at the spin-friendly and dusty Motera pitch was akin to a spinner handling the new ball on a matting wicket, something that old Gujarat and Saurashtra spin bowlers have experienced over the years and decades.
A day after Axar Patel darted ball after ball, straight and quick into England batsmen and put them on the mat, former Gujarat left-arm spinner, 77-year-old Ashok Joshi told: "He did well. Hit the ball hard on that pitch. That is what you need to do, bowl quick spinners on that surface. That England spinner, Jack Leach, did not hit the pitch hard enough."
Joshi, who played 81 first-class games through 1960s and 1970s during a period when competition for left-arm spinners for India team was intense, has played a lot on coir matting surfaces. He says on coir matting the ball turns prodigiously after it gets a bit scuffed up but the new one rushes in straight and often comes quickly into the batsmen.
"The new ball, because of its gloss, goes in straight and often turns in to the right-hander on matting. The turf wicket will usually start assisting turn from Day Three, but on matting it remains the same," he says. He pointed out that the two surfaces can't be compared even though Patel's success with new ball is quite similar to what you would get on the coir matting.
On a wicket that aided big turn, and with the pink ball, which retains its gloss for a much longer period than a red ball, Patel kept darting in ball after ball at some pace and like one would do on a matting surface. He was even called 'Wasim bhai' by wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant from behind the stumps, referring to former Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Wasim Akram, who had a sharp incoming delivery in his armoury.