India had lost two wickets in the chase of the 145-run target when they sent the left-handed Axar Patel ahead of Virat Kohli at No. 4. India were reduced to 45 for 4 at stumps on day 3 with Axar unbeaten on 26.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar wasn’t quite pleased with the move.
“It doesn’t send good signals to Kohli. To the world’s best batsman that you bat down. Unless Kohli himself asked for it; then it’s different matter. We don’t know what happenned in change room. But it’s hard to understand. Axar has played well, of course,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
It didn’t help Kohli much as he fell to just 1 in 22 balls, edging to short-leg. Bangladesh’s off spinner Mehidy Miraz stunned the Indians with a three-wicket haul from his 8 overs to turn the pressure on India, who now need 100 more runs to win. India also sent in a nightwatchman Jaydev Unadkat, who remained unbeaten.
“Irrespective of left-hander or not, let Rishabh Pant come into bat next tomorrow,” Gavaskar said. His point was even if Axar Patel is still there, it should be Pant who should join him at the crease. “Let this left-hand right-hand experiment stop,” Gavaskar said with a smile.
Gavaskar also questioned the slip-catching technique of Indians. Kohli dropped a few tough chances at slip and Gavaskar pointed out how Indians don’t “crouch low for spinners. They stand too upright with hands on knees. It’s surprising that their coach is Rahul Dravid, who is probably the only Indian with more than 200 catches and a great catcher …”
Later, Mohammad Siraj would explain the Axar promotion thus: It’s management’s call. I think it was because of left-hand, right-hand combination to try make things difficult for bowlers.