Ashwin, the tireless trier, stands out

Of the six spinners in the first Test between India and New Zealand, Ashwin stood taller for contributing more. Clearly, the best spinner on view, Ashwin played a stellar role with the bat in the second innings when India was in deep trouble.

Ravichandran Ashwin shone with both bat and bowl in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, scoring 70 runs and picking six wickets in the match.   -  SPORTZPICS

Surprisingly, on the final day of the first Test, the batting skills of three New Zealand spinners proved just a wee bit more effective than the combined skill sets of India’s spin trio.

After all, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel were chosen to take 20 wickets on a pitch expected to aid spin more than it eventually did at the Green Park Stadium here.

On the other hand, Kane Williamson chose spinners William Somerville,
debutant Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel largely for their batting skills to, at best, save the Test. It did pan out that way.

Interestingly, all six spinners gave a good account of their batting skills, at least once, in the match.

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If Jadeja came up with a timely half-century in the first innings, Ashwin and Axar played their part in India’s resurrection in the second. For New Zealand, Somerville batted out the first session of the final day before Ravindra and Ajaz produced a match-saving 52-ball association at the end.

Significantly, Ravindra batted out 91 deliveries - that is 15.1 overs - in an exemplary display of sense of purpose and last-man Ajaz played out 23 deliveries, including the tense final over.

Of these six spinners, Ashwin stood taller for contributing more. Clearly, the best spinner on view, Ashwin played a stellar role with the bat in the second innings when India was in deep trouble.

Walking in at 51/5, Ashwin began the Indian resurrection before Shreyas Iyer reproduced the form that saw him score a century on debut in the first innings.

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Not many noticed that Ashwin dominated the 52-run stand with a strokeful 32. It was an example of how seriously Ashwin takes his batting. After all, Ashwin has five Test  centuries and 11 half centuries from 81 Tests.

Unlike Jadeja and Axar, who rely much on the assistance from the pitch to be effective, Ashwin uses all the technique and tactics to fox the batters. The off-spinner, with a variety of potent weapons in his armoury, has the temperament to deal with wicket-less phases and never gets tired of trying.

Now that the action shifts from the black-soil Green Park pitch to Wankhede Stadium’s red-soil strip, expect Ashwin to go all out as if to make amends for that ‘missed wicket’ at Kanpur.

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