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'It's Like a Dream Start Within a Dream': Axar Patel After Taking 5th Five-wicket Haul in 4th Test

Axar Patel took 5/62. (BCCI Photo)

Axar Patel took 5/62. (BCCI Photo)

Axar Patel has made a stunning start to his Test career with five five-wicket hauls in just four matches.

Axar Patel couldn’t have asked for a better start to his Test career. In fact, the heaps of wickets he has collected playing in just his fourth Test would be a dream start for anyone. Having debuted earlier this year, the left-arm spinner has already collected 32 wickets in just seven innings.

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And he has five five-wicket hauls already to his name. On Saturday, he ran through the New Zealand batting line-up to finish with 5/62 and thus helped India limit them to 296-all out after they were off to an excellent start.

India took a 49-run lead thanks to Axar’s efforts which they stretched further to 63 by the times the play on Day 3 of the first Test came to an end in Kanpur.

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“My teammates have been teasing me on how many five-wicket hauls I have now. This is like a dream start within a dream for me," a beaming Axar responded during a post-match interview with the broadcasters.

New Zealand slipped from 151/0 to 296-all out on a surface which is now offering erratic bounce with odd deliveries staying low and progressively becoming more conducive to spinners.

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“It was a difficult situation when New Zealand didn’t lose a single wicket on Friday  but this is a pitch where you can’t expect wickets all the time. You have to be consistent with your line and length," the 27-year-old opined.

While Axar took five, his senior teammate Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets.

Explaining what worked for him, he said, “I am using the crease well. Since I have a round-arm action, it worked well on this pitch. I was bowling from wide of the crease and something was happening."

With India losing an early wicket in their second innings late into the day, Axar doesn’t feel that it’s hard to survive on the pitch. “The pitch is slowing up and was slower than the first two days. There was more turn on offer. It is difficult, but you can survive here if careful," he said.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 17:35 IST