On a crumbling and dusty pitch in the day-night Test, where the pink orb looked like it had transformed into a magical object with a life of its own, anything looked possible. And it was.Crazy. Nuts. Bizarre. Freakish. Kooky. Wacky. You could pick any these words to describe what unfolded here on Thursday, and you would be right.
On a crumbling and dusty pitch in the day-night Test, where the pink orb looked like it had transformed into a magical object with a life of its own, anything looked possible. And it was.
Even an innings win for India with just a 33-run lead against England. It almost happened. Or an England renaissance led by Joe Root. With the ball. It actually happened. Playing his 102nd Test, the England captain and part-time spinner picked up the first fifer of his career.
Or Ishant Sharma hitting a six for the first time in his 194-match international career after facing 2677 balls. That happened.
Or a two-Test old backup spinner, Axar Patel, picking his third successive five-wicket haul in as many innings, while a 77-Test spin veteran, R Ashwin, becoming the second-fastest player to 400 Test wickets.
But here’s the wackiest thing that happened: a Test match was won in two days with just 140.2 overs bowled in total, the shortest completed Test since 1935.
If India lost seven wickets for 46 runs in the first session, England lost 10 for 81 (their lowest score ever against India) in the second.
Ashwin and Patel both claimed a wicket with the first ball of the innings, Ashwin in England’s first and Patel in the second.
The ball turned viciously, skidded with malicious intent, spat off the pitch like a uppercut and kicked up dust storms.
By the end of it, it was hard to make sense of the proceedings.
It all meant that that the first Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium would go down in the record books as the shortest-ever Test (842 balls) in India.
The dusty pitch at the brand new Stadium will definitely be in question after crumbling in less than two days. Ahead of the Test, Rohit Sharma had said it was well within their rights to have home advantage and Joe Root had agreed.
Taking home advantage meant shaving off the grass on the pitch gradually in the lead up to the Test. By the time the toss happened, the India camp read the conditions so well that they played three spinners for the day-night affair. Left-armer Patel was introduced in the seventh over of first day for the pink ball match.
While there was dust in the landing area right from the first session and the balled turned as well, under the hot Ahmedabad sun it dried further on the second day. It meant spinners took control and turned the ball across at will. They took 28 out of the 30 wickets that fell on Day 2. In fact, no pacers were used at all in the second innings by either team.