Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar and Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.
Chasing 49 for a win, India raced home with 10 wickets in the bag as Rohit (25) and Shubman Gill (15) looked in a hurry to finish proceedings on a dramatic day.
The win has taken India one step closer to the final of the World Test Championship.
The star of the show was hometown boy Axar as he finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). His senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with seven in the game and also reached the 400-wicket mark in Test cricket.
“Ashwin is probably one of the match-winners, if not ‘the match-winner’, of the Indian cricket history…has won so many games for us. Big congratulations to him to get to that milestone. It must be a great feeling for him as well. To do that in his 77th Test match, it is a great feat,” Rohit said in the post-match press conference.
“Hats off to him and not to forget his contribution with the bat in the series as well. He has done remarkably well and obviously, the team relies on him a lot.”
Praising Axar, Rohit said: “Axar was simply brilliant… He understands the conditions really well. He knows how to vary the pace and what lines to bowl, which is very, very important as a bowler. To understand your line to the right-handers and to the left-handers is very important.
“What he did brilliantly in this game was that he made the batters play most of the balls, which is always important on a wicket like that… It all goes to his skill set and he has got a solid skillset.”
With this defeat, England is out of the race for a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship.
England, who are now 2-1 down in the four-match series, needed to win the series 3-1 to play the final against New Zealand.
England have dropped to 64.1 percentage points on the table, which is now led by India with 71 percentage points.
New Zealand are assured of a place in the final with 70 percentage points.
India need to either win or draw the last Test to stay ahead of Australia, who are in third place with 69.2 percentage points.