Records tumbled on Friday afternoon as R. Ashwin claimed a six-wicket haul in the first innings of the fourth Test against Australia.
On a placid track, Ashwin had to work hard for his wickets, but his relentless effort saw him claiming his 32nd five-for in Test cricket. As he broke the 70-run partnership between Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy, dismissing the two in quick succession and bundling out Australia for 480, Ashwin became the joint-highest wicket-taker in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, with 113 scalps.
Though not a man of numbers, Ashwin was happy to have added another five-for to his kitty.
He had started off the series perfectly with three wickets in the first innings of the Nagpur Test, followed by a fifer in the second essay.
Since then, he had to be content with three-wicket hauls in New Delhi and Indore.
By his own admission, Ashwin will got to bed on Friday feeling a lot better.
“You can go to bed feeling a lot better instead of having just three wickets in your kitty. It does feel good as you end up with good bag of wickets, even if you don’t bowl sometimes, you feel good about it. I will go to bed tonight a bit early and also a bit happier,” Ashwin said.
In challenging conditions, Ashwin ensured that he had a plan in place for Cameron Green, who went on to score a century.
“While bowling to Green, I felt he was playing a lot besides the line for everything and the wicket wasn’t true enough for him to play against the spin constantly. It was an idea to shut him down as his head falls over a lot more. That was the plan, but not necessarily the way you want to get him out. However, it did pan out. Those things also need to go your way,” Ashwin said.
“Sometimes the numbers speak easily for the bowler and I felt completely happy in my own cocoon about how the ball has been coming out of my hand…”
Unlike in Indore, the ball came nicely onto the bat in Ahmedabad, making things easy for the batters.
“The square here has been a lot fresher as compared to other places. We had instances in Nagpur where first-class teams did get rolled out pretty cheaply in the third and fourth innings. There has been issues in some other grounds where we played, where it was over-used. We expected this wicket to play well but not as slow as it did,” Ashwin said.
He, however, did not want to compare his previous spells with the one on Friday.
“No one spell is better than the other and I felt at various stages in this particular series, be it in Delhi, the numbers probably don’t give you a five or six. The ball was coming out beautifully in the whole series,” he said.
“Whatever changes I have put in - my loading, cocking my wrists, all those things have proved that my spells have been a lot more penetrative than probably they were in Bangladesh, where I don’t think I was at my best. However, smaller changes that I have made have ensured that I have got enough purchase off the pitches. It’s doing a lot more in the air than it did in Bangladesh…”
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