The myth of tail-enders is overstated, says Ravichandran Ashwin

After losing eight wickets for 162, South Africa managed to fight back as Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander added 109 runs for the ninth wicket.

R Ashwin reacts after dismissing Keshav Maharaj on day three of the second Test.   -  AFP

Ravichandran Ashwin believes that in modern day cricket, the term ‘tail-enders’ has become an ‘overstated myth’.

After claiming a four-for against South Africa -- which helped India gain a 326-run first innings lead in the second Test - Ashwin lauded the century stand between Keshav Maharaj and Philander.

After losing eight wickets for 162, South Africa managed to fight back as Maharaj and Philander added 109 runs for the ninth wicket.

“It is a good pitch and Philander batted beautifully. His defensive technique to spin and fast bowling was wonderful. He played with soft hands and the bat face was slightly running down,” Ashwin said.

“I think the myth of tail-enders is over-stated and when someone bats well, he bats well. Nowadays, nobody is really a mug with the bat. In our team also, everybody bats pretty well till No 11,” the spin ace pointed out.

After dismissing the top-order hours before tea, the Indian bowlers were put to test by the Philander-Maharaj partnership. But Ashwin made it clear that he was ‘not frustrated’. 

“I don’t get frustrated and don’t want to get frustrated either as I am happy to be bowling again. Whoever bats again, I am happy to keep bowling at them,” the spin ace said.

Coming into the game with a lot of confidence, South Africa batsmen failed to show resilience and Ashwin felt that perhaps the players were tired after fielding for so long.

“I feel that South Africa have batted pretty well and have played some good cricket over the last two Test matches. Sometimes, when you stand on the field for two days, 150-160 overs, it can be too hard, I can entirely empathise with tired legs,” he said.

Before the second Test got underway, there were speculations on how the MCA International Stadium’s wicket will behave. But Ashwin called it a ‘typical Indian wicket’.

“This is a typically Indian pitch from my experience and I don’t know why you say its not a typical Indian pitch. These are the kind of pitches you tend to get in first-class cricket,” he pointed out.

In this series, India has gone back to its old wicket-keeper, Wriddhiman Saha, and the stumper took a fascinating catch on Saturday to send Theunis de Bruyn packing.

“Look, time and again, a lot of people from within the team has spoken about Saha and its no-brainer to say Saha is one of the best going around. I have hardly seen him miss anything from the rough and today you saw how he took Rabada’s (missed cover drive), just indicates what good set of hands he has got.

"Saha’s also got great composure too and you can’t really rule him out with bat either,” Ashwin said.

“He has had some handy contributions for the team. He is a great character and great keeper to have in the team,” Ashwin added.