After the drubbing faced in the 1st test, team India was staring at another mountain to climb on Day 1 of the Centurion test match as Amla and Du Plessis stroked the bowlers with ease. However, thanks to Ravichandran Ashwin’s superbly controlled bowling, and Hardik Pandya’s excellent throwing capabilities, the visitors found a way back in the test match and ended Day 1 having restricted the home team to 269/9.
R Ashwin who bowled just 8 overs in the 1st test match, showed his class at the Centurion once the wicket settled down. He bowled in 2 long spells during the day, where he managed to get the important wickets of Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and De Kock. Speaking at the press conference after stumps, Ashwin said that it was one the most relaxed days for him on the cricket field.
Ravichandran Ashwin said,
“I wasn’t really thinking too much and delivering the ball. My only intent was to try and keep it in a particular spot. Try and deliver from different positions in the crease, I was really enjoying it.”
After going through a bit of struggle in 2017, Ashwin is enjoying this purple patch and attributed this to the change in his wrist position and the work that has gone into making his action repeatable. The spin-specialist said,
“More than having to make changes from the 2013-14 tour, it was a reality check in terms of not being able to win a Test match for the country on day five when all things were actually set up for a spinner. It was a kind of hit on my professional pride and from there on I knew I had to work on certain things.”
Ashwin’s place in the side was under doubt a couple of days prior to the test match as the wicket was covered in grass. However, with the temperature rising steadily, the grass almost vanished by the time we were set for the toss. The 31-year-old said, “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.’
He concluded the press conference by saying,
“Today morning, when we came to the ground, it looked like a wicket that was really flat and had to have a spinner in the game. Personally, from my side of it, I was very happy that the grass was taken off, if not I think it would have been an all-seam attack. That’s the way it goes, right? I have seen a lot of cricket matches where people who haven’t been in contention to play the match, come in and get those wickets. So, this was one of those days.”