NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Axar Patel would never disrespect test cricket by calling it an easy game but the India left-arm spinner accepts he is living a dream after producing another stellar performance in the opening test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Patel completed figures of 5-62 to collect his fifth five-wicket haul in seven innings since he made his test debut against England this year.
Patel is yet to play a test match abroad where pitches would be less conducive to his craft and even at home he remains under the shadow of senior spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the game's longest format.
The 27-year-old, who claimed 27 wickets in three matches in his debut series against England, overshadowed both his spin colleagues on Saturday to help India take a 49-run first innings lead at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.
"It's been a dream, no doubt," the wiry all-rounder said.
Asked if he wondered what all the fuss was about test cricket, Patel said; "Not at all, test cricket is definitely not easy.
"When New Zealand were going strong at 120 for no loss yesterday, it certainly did not feel easy."
Replying to India's total of 345, New Zealand were 151 for no wicket on Saturday before Patel wrecked their middle order and the tourists eventually folded for 296.
"I just try to enjoy the game whenever I play," Patel said. "When playing alongside Ashwin and Jadeja, I honestly don't think who is the lead spinner among us."
"When I have the ball in my hand, I'm too pre-occupied assessing the pitch and my bowling plans to think of these things."
India will resume day four on 14-1 in the first match of the two-test series.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Ed Osmond)