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Have to bowl well to restrict Australia to 220-250 on slow pitch: Axar Patel

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Last updated on 18 Feb 2023 | 02:11 PM
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Have to bowl well to restrict Australia to 220-250 on slow pitch: Axar Patel

The India all-rounder continued his excellent run with the bat, scoring 74 to help his side out of trouble

Australia have played excellent counter-attacking cricket, having reached 61 for 1 in just 12 overs on Day Two after bowling India out for 262. The Aussies took a one-run first innings lead and have started their second innings off on a positive note, with Travis Head (39*) and Marnus Labuschagne (16*), leading the charge. 

India were in a spot of bother when Axar Patel (74) walked into bat at 135 for 6. They were soon reduced to 136 for 7 after KS Bharat handed Nathan Lyon his fifth wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin (37) then joined Axar with whom he put on 114 for the eighth wicket to bring India back into the game.

Speaking about how much India would be happy chasing in the fourth innings, Axar said his side will have to bowl well to keep Australia to 220-250.

"The faster we bowl them out, the better it is for us. If we can stop them to 220-250, then it would be a good target for batting on third or fourth day. For that, we will have to bowl well as the pitch is getting slower. We will have to work hard to stop them to that total as it won't be easy to fetch wickets immediately. You will have to bowl consistently in good areas to make things happen," he said in the press conference at the end of Day Two.

The all-rounder however added that India are thinking about how to stop Australia's run-flow. They have scored at over five an over in the second innings as they look to put India on the back foot.

"At the end of the way, we are now thinking about our planning and what we can do differently against what batters and what field placement we can put. We are thinking about that and hope so, we are following that tomorrow," Axar said.

Speaking of the difference in bowling with the new ball and the old ball, Axar said, "You will have to vary your speed, so I feel that with the semi-new ball, the pitch becomes hard and becomes easy for batting, like what we saw in last two sessions, because the pitch is getting a bit slower."

Axar has continued his excellent run with the bat this series, following his magnificent 84 in the first Test in Nagpur. He is also the leading run-getter in the series, with 158 runs at 79. 

The southpaw revealed how chats with Ricky Ponting during the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he represents Delhi Capitals (DC) helped him in understanding how he can maximise his batting.

"When I was with the Delhi Capitals, I used to have chats with Ricky over what new I can do with the bat and when I got into the Indian team, I used to speak to players over batting for a longer period. Like, I used to bat and used to leave it to 30-40, and was unable to get crucial finishes" Axar revealed.

"The main thing I realised is about the mindset and what are you thinking in your mind. Like, when you take a wicket or two, you could get casual, and that is what I felt I needed to improve on.

"So, I had in my mind that I have to finish the match and then I will go. That is the thing which I am thinking when coming out to bat, like I have to get set and finish the match. So, that is the main difference in last one and a half years."

India did manage to get the wicket of Usman Khawaja early on Day Two, but the 38-run stand in quick time between Head and Labuschagne has put the hosts on the back foot. They will hope to bounce back on Day Three. 

India lead the four-match series 1-0 following a massive innings and 132-run victory in the first Test in Nagpur.

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