Ravichandran Ashwin was extremely happy with the progress that the Indian bowlers made on Day 2 of the first Test against Australia on Friday.
India, who got bowled out for 250 with the last-man Mohammed Shami losing his wicket off the first ball on the second day, restricted Australia to 191 for 7 at stumps with the hosts still trailing the visitors by 59 runs in the first innings.
Ashwin starred with the ball for India with figures of 3 for 50 in 33 overs. The off-spinner even bowled a spell of 22 overs on-the-trot before and after the tea break which enable India to restrict Australia’s run-rate.
He was ably supported by the three pacers – Ishant Sharma (2/31), Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah (2/34) – all of whom bowled with discipline and managed to share 4 wickets between themselves.
“I thought we really bottled them up, soaked them up and put on pressure from both ends,” said Ashiwn, the most successful visiting bowler with figures of 3/50.
“We don’t isolate it as a fast bowling or spin bowling pack. We identify it as a bowling unit together because one cannot exist without the other. Today was another perfect attrition day for us,” he said at the post-match press conference.
BCCI (@BCCI) December 7, 2018
With Travis Head batting on 61 and Mitchell Starc giving him company on 8, Ashwin feels the Test is still on equal terms.
“I bowled an extended 22-over spell even before and after tea to make sure that we do not give away more runs.
“I see it as neck-and-neck in the game. Whoever can get momentum from hereon has the edge in this Test. I think it is extremely well poised. Every run is going to be gold dust from here.”
Ashwin, who has faced a lot of criticism for his poor away record in Test, made a conscious effort to give more top-spin on the ball rather than the conventional side-spin that he is used to on sub-continent conditions and the move worked wonders for the Tamil Nadu tweaker as he got more purchase from the Adelaide Oval pitch.
He snared the wickets of debutant Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh which really dented Australia before Head fought back with a patient half-century.
Excellent effort from the Indian bowlers today, not allowing Australia to score freely and picking up 7 wickets in the day. Now for India to carry the momentum and pick up the last 3 wickets quickly and bat better in the second innings. Tomorrow a crucial day #AusvInd
VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 7, 2018
After the day’s play Ashwin revealed how he was able to get more drift on the ball which helped him get rid of Khawaja and Marsh.
“There is not a lot happening off the straight or fizzing through (off the pitch), nothing like that.
“I was getting drift both ways, in and out, and I was able to control both that drift and get the batsmen holding their feet inside as well as outside the stump and hence hold them.
“That’s how we got Usman Khawaja out and Shaun Marsh out as well. That’s something that worked in my favour because of the drift, the ball going away and coming back in. It happens in Melbourne too. So I am backing on that to give me some really good results,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)