R Ashwin calls his 22-over spell against NZ “one of the more decisive”

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R Ashwin calls his 22-over spell against NZ “one of the more decisive”

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SportsCafe Desk


R Ashwin has claimed his “tiring” 22-over spell against New Zealand in the second innings of the Kolkata Test as “one of the more decisive bowling spells” in his career. Ashwin, who became the second-fastest bowler ever to claim 200 Test wickets, finished the match with a 3 for 82.

Ashwin said, “It was a very long and tiring spell and it was tough out there in the middle. I had to buckle in because we knew that the fast bowlers needed to be given enough rest. In the bargain, I picked up a few important wickets. I believe it's one of the more decisive bowling spells I have bowled in the recent past,” in an exclusive to bcci.tv.

Although India won the match by a massive 178 runs, Ashwin said that it was difficult for the bowlers as the pitch did not offer a lot if the batsmen had already settled in. Even though the pitch had some uneven bounce and a bit for both the seamers and spinners, Ashwin paid homage to his Kiwi counterparts stating that “the game was closer than what the scoreboard suggests”.

“It was a very tricky pitch and there was not a whole lot on offer. It was just the odd ball jumping and spinning and keeping a touch low. I felt the wicket behaved much better today than how it behaved yesterday. There was a lot more balls that were not easy for our batsmen to counter and for some reason, the wicket binded well because of the grass today as well. The game was closer than what the scoreboard suggests. At one stage after lunch, they were 55/0 and all they needed was a hundred run partnership somewhere. We did well to come one up at the end of it," added the 30-year-old.

While Ashwin kept the New Zealand batsman on their toes from one end, it was the pacers who cleared up the Kiwi middle and lower order to take India to the top of the World Test rankings. The Tamil Nadu spinner reserved special praise for Mohammad Shami, who recently returned to the Test squad since a knee surgery kept him on the sidelines for the most part of 2015 and early parts 2016 season.

“There has to be a special mention for Mohammed Shami today. He came out after tea and exactly gave what we needed because I was going through a tiring spell and we needed somebody to give us one or two wickets in that phase. It was a beautiful spell of reverse swing. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled well too after tea and the credit needs to go to the team that did so well," he said.

Asked about his marathon 22-over spell, Ashwin said: "I had to do it and it was a decisive spell. Maybe in the long run one may not find it so because of how things happened so quickly after tea. Once we broke through the back of the New Zealand line-up and got them to four or five down, it was just a matter of time."

The 30-year-old also praised the analytical skills of the Kiwis stating that they had done their homework after the defeat in the Kanpur Test. He mentioned Tom Latham’s effective use of the sweep shot to neutralize the off-spinner, who had caught him LBW twice in the first Test. However, Ashwin did get the better of him again by forcing him to drive a ball outside off stump, only to nick one straight to the keeper.

"Tom Latham has come with a clear game-plan. He is a good player and let's not make any mistakes about it. Today he batted beautifully. I was working on different plans. I came in, started drifting the ball in and almost got a caught and bowled but then I had to go away from him and see if he came out for a drive. He wasn't getting much runs on the off-side. Finally, he reached out for a drive and was out caught behind", the Tamil Nadu spinner concluded.

Having already sealed the series with a couple of wins, India will now hope to complete a whitewash when the series resumes in Indore, on October 8.

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