Ashwin making a fresh beginning in the series

After a satisfying day with the ball, off-spinner R. Ashwin said, given his disappointments in this part of the world in the past, he wanted to make a fresh beginning in this series.

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's Aiden Markram in Centurion on Saturday.   -  AFP

After a satisfying day with the ball, off-spinner R. Ashwin said, given his disappointments in this part of the world in the past, he wanted to make a fresh beginning in this series.

Ashwin was pleased with how the last session went for India. “I feel those wickets in the last session are very valid incentive for the team going into day two.”

Dwelling on the pitch, he said, “The new ball isn’t doing a lot actually and the pitch is actually flattening out and spin is going out of the surface a lot more. I think day two and three will be a very good batting day.”

He said the failure to win a Test for India on day five of the 2013-14 tour when things were set for a spinner made him work harder. “It was kind of hit on my professional pride and from there on I knew I had to work on certain things.”

He added, “So I worked on making my action a lot more repeatable and I worked on the wrist position at time of release and also added a few things up my repertoire and used my wrist a lot more when I bowl and used my palm more when I bowl the flipper. I have gathered a lot more respect since.”

The off-spinner revealed he was relaxed in his mind going into the Test. “I mean two days from the game it looked like we are going to play an all-seam attack. And then when we walked into the ground yesterday, it was white in colour, the grass was coming off. All of a sudden I really had to pull myself back and think I am in the game now.”

Asked about the surface here South African opener Aiden Markram, who missed a hundred by six runs, said. “(It is) A little bit different. Generally there is good pace and bounce. It is still there but it lacked the extra pace that the usual wicket at SuperSport has.”

He said the game was pretty even as this point. “I thought we showed good fight, winning the toss and batting first, especially after how last week played out. We’ve got taller bowlers than what the Indians have.”

On facing Ashwin he said, “Ashwin is a world class bowler, always asking the right questions and he sets smart fields. It is not easy out there.”

About being dismissed in the 90s again, Markram said, “Massively disappointed. It was a bit of a nothing shot. I am not over it just yet.”

Kohli, he revealed, had walked up to him after his dismissal and said, “Well played, you were unlucky to get out.’ It was a great gesture from him. He is a massive competitor as everyone sees on the TV, but it’s great to see that he has got good values that people off the field might not see.”