No one could have written the script for the Day and Night Pink Ball Test at the refurbished Narendra Modi Stadium at Motera. It was a spectacle which ended within two days setting innumerable records and more importantly giving the home team an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series and taking them a step closer to the final of the World Test Championship at Lord’s in June. It was a Test match of new milestones being set, none more significant than R Ashwin making it to the 400-Club. We look at 10 Numbers that stand out from the match.
7: The Motera Pink Ball Test was the seventh shortest completed match (in terms of balls bowled) in the history of Test cricket. The match got over in 842 deliveries making it the shortest Test India has ever participated in and in Asia. It was also the shortest Test match in the last 85 years since 1935. The previous shortest Test match in Asia was played between Australia and Pakistan at Sharjah in 2002 - it got over in 893 deliveries. The previous shortest completed Test match involving India was the only other Pink Ball Test the team has played at home - against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2019 - the match was wrapped within 968 deliveries.
The fact that four of the five shortest completed matches in India’s Test history have come in the last three years tells a story in itself. It is a massive indicator of how the advent of T20 cricket is leading to weaker techniques and temperament needed for the five-day vigil. Also, we are witnessing home advantage at its dominating best.
22: The two-day finish at Motera was only the 22nd time in Test cricket history (in 2412 matches) that a match finished within the first two days. The last Test to finish within two days was the one between India and Afghanistan in Bangalore in 2018. Motera was also only the second game involving India to finish inside two days. England have played in 13 two-day finishes.
387: The Total Number of Runs Scored in the Pink Ball Test at Motera
It is the tenth-lowest aggregate in a completed match in Test cricket history. It is the lowest aggregate for any match in which India has been involved and in Asia. The previous lowest run aggregate for a match involving India was 482 - against England at Lord’s in 1936.
77: The Number of Tests taken by R Ashwin to reach the 400-Club
Ashwin became the second-fastest (in terms of number of matches played) to reach the milestone of 400 Test wickets. Only the great Sri Lankan, Muttiah Muralitharan made it to the 400-Club quicker - in his 72nd Test. Overall, Ashwin is the 16th bowler to reach the landmark and fourth Indian after Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
Ashwin is the fastest Indian to 100, 200, 300 and 400 Test wickets.
21242: Number of Deliveries Ashwin Bowled to reach the Landmark of 400 Test wickets
Ashwin is the quickest in Test cricket history to reach the milestone of 400 Test wickets in terms of number of deliveries bowled. Ashwin reached the 400-Club in 21242 deliveries breaking the record of Rangana Herath who had done it in 23835 deliveries.
81: England’s total in the second innings at Motera was their lowest team total against India in a Test innings. In fact, it was the second-lowest team total by any team against India (after South Africa’s 79 in Nagour in 2015). England’s previous lowest total against India came at The Oval in 1971 when Bhagwath Chandrasekhar’s magic won the game for India. England’s lowest total in India came in Mumbai in 1981.
193: The Lowest Match Aggregate in a Test in India
England were bowled out for 112 and 81 in the two innings in Ahmedabad. Not only is it the lowest match aggregate for a team in India but also the only instance when a team has been dismissed for an aggregate of less than 200 in a match in the country. The previous joint-lowest was, surprisingly, the home country themselves who were routed for 105 and 107 by Australia in Pune in 2017. Afghanistan was also bundled for 109 and 103 in Bengaluru in 2018.
11-70: The Most Restrictive Ten-Wicket Haul in India’s Test Cricket History
Axar Patel was the Player of the Match in front of his home crowd as he returned with magnificent figures of 11-70 at Motera. Axar had broken a record and produced the most economical 10 wicket haul in India’s Test cricket history. The previous record was held by Ashwin who returned with 12-85 against New Zealand in Hyderabad in 2012.
4: Axar Patel became the fourth Indian bowler to take three consecutive five-wickets in an innings in Test cricket.
Axar had taken a fifer in the second innings of the second Test in Chennai and returned with two of them in both the innings in Ahmedabad. The three Indian bowlers to have achieved the feat before him were Harbhajan Singh in 2001, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan in 1984 and Javagal Srinath in 1999.
12: Motera was the 12th instance when Indian spinners have accounted for 19 or more wickets in a Test match
Of the 20 England wickets to fall in the match, 19 were taken by the Indian spinners. Dom Sibley was the odd one out and was dismissed by Ishant Sharma in the first innings. It was the 12th instance when Indian spinners had accounted for 19 or more wickets in a Test match.