Ashwin: ‘We put pressure from both ends’

Ravichandran Ashwin’s miserly spells — three wickets and an economy rate of 1.52 — during the course of the first innings of the ongoing India vs Australia Test series, choked the host team. With Australia scheduled to bat last on a slow, two-paced surface, Ashwin will again come into play.

Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin appeal for the wicket of Usman Khawaja on day two of the first Test match between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.   -  Getty Images

The tide turns, fortunes change. In 2014, another Adelaide Test, again an opening fixture of a much-hyped series involving India and Australia, and inexplicably R. Ashwin was dropped. Virat Kohli believed that he could ambush the Australians through Karn Sharma’s leg-spin but the ploy failed.

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Cut to the present, and it is time to spring a different narrative. In the familiar environs of the Adelaide Oval, Ashwin is back to centre-stage. His miserly spells — three wickets and an economy rate of 1.52 — during the course of the first Test, choked Tim Paine’s men. The game may seem evenly poised but with Australia scheduled to bat last on a slow, two-paced surface, Ashwin will again come into play.

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Talking to the media on Friday, the off-spinner said that the pitch has slowed down: “The speed has definitely come down. When we were batting, I don’t think it was as slow as it was today. The wicket has slowed down considerably and I don’t expect it to quicken up.”

Ashwin also drew joy from a combative day of Test cricket. “It was another perfect day of attrition, for us. We bottled them up and put pressure from both ends,” he said.

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Asked about his 22-over spell split across the first two sessions, Ashwin replied: “If I wasn’t happy with today’s spell, I won’t be happy with many other days. I was getting drift both ways, in and out, and I was able to control that and hold the batsmen. That’s how we got (Usman) Khawaja and (Shaun) Marsh out. It’s something that really worked in my favour today because of the drift, the ball going away and coming back in. it happens in Melbourne too. So I am banking on that to give me some really good results.”

Four years ago, he watched the action from the sidelines. Now, Ashwin is in a position to make the match pivot on his spinning fingers.