India all-rounder Axar Patel on Monday said that the 96-run stand between skipper Virat Kohli and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin boosted the side's confidence on day three of the second Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
The seventh-wicket partnership between Kohli and Ashwin enabled hosts to post 286 in their second innings and set a target of 482 against England to win the match.
Kohli played a knock of 62 runs while Ashwin (108) smashed his fifth Test century studded with 14 fours and one six.
"Kohli and Ashwin's partnership boosted our confidence after losing Rohit and Pujara early in the day. When you have big runs on the scoreboard then you can bowl more confidently in the game," Patel said in the virtual press conference.
At stumps on day three, England's score read 53/3 with skipper Joe Root and Dan Lawrence still unbeaten on two and 19 runs respectively. Visitors still require 429 runs to win the game.
Patel scalped two wickets while Ashwin clinched one in the second innings.
"I know I bowl on my lengths and accuracy and it works for me so I don't think there is anything else needed to take wickets on this pitch. There is no need to try for variations as the wicket is helping spinners. I'm just trying to bowl on my areas," the spinner said.
"We know there is a spin on this wicket but it is when you bowl strength deliveries. We need to hit the ball hard as it is making batters uneasy to play those balls," he added.
When asked about Joe Root's controversial DRS call in which the England skipper got a reprieve, Patel said: "I don't think my decision will matter as umpire's decision is not going to change."
The left-arm spinner further said the pitch is behaving normally and there is nothing to complain about. Many former English cricketers have called the wicket unsuitable for a Test match.
"When everybody is talking about pitch, I don't think any ball hit the helmet. It is spinning normally and we also played on this wicket and scored runs. I don't think anybody should complain about the pitch. When we go abroad, we also face seaming track but we don't crib about it," the debutant said.
Patel explained why he missed the first Test and what it feels like to bowl with Ashwin.
"I was to play the first Test but I wanted to take time for myself as I was suffering from a niggle. It was frustrating but I'm playing the second Test and giving my 100 per cent. I have bowled with Ashwin in DC as well and we talk with each other about mindset and how to take wickets," he said.
After losing openers early, England sent Jack Leach as nightwatchman but that move also did not work for the visitors. Leach was sent back to the pavilion on a single ball duck by Patel. Root and Lawrence played cautiously and made sure that the side did not suffer any hiccup on the day.
( With inputs from ANI )
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