2nd Test, Day 2: Wanted to bowl wide as Marnus, Smith were looking to play through leg-side, says Ashwin

by IANS |

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) India's ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that he planned to bowl wide to the Australian right-handed batting duo of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith as they were looking to play through the leg-side all the time.

In the 23rd over of Australia's first innings on Friday, Ashwin struck twice, first by getting an off-break delivery to spin in and beat Labuschagne on the inside edge to trap him lbw in front of the middle stump.

He then closed the over by trapping Smith with a slider which the right-handed batter tried to meet by coming forward but gave a low catch behind to wicketkeeper KS Bharat.

"I think it's about getting the batter to do what you want to do. Both Marnus and Steve were looking to get out of the crease during Nagpur. We just wanted to take the ball a touch wider because they were looking to play everything to the leg side."

'I earned the right to pin Marnus back in his crease. For Steve, I wanted to change the seam position and get it a bit more round-arm, to get it to move away. I was looking more to get him caught at slip, but I was happy to get the wicket," said Ashwin to broadcasters ahead of day two's play.

Ashwin, who recently crossed the 450 Test wickets milestone, revealed that he regained his rhythm while bowling to wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey in the first innings at Nagpur last week.

"I had played a lot of T20 cricket, and then in Bangladesh, I wasn't bowling that well. I wanted to work on my loading. I worked with Sairaj (Bahutule, spin bowling coach at NCA) also before this series. In the first innings at Nagpur, I thought I hadn't got my rhythm, but after bowling that spell to Alex Carey, I thought I had got my rhythm back."

Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj stated that the pitch had some help for fast bowlers initially and that he was trying to create pressure so that senior pacer Mohammed Shami takes wickets.

Siraj bowled a fiery opening spell through his short balls, but couldn't get a wicket. Shami, on the other hand, took four wickets to be India's pick of the bowlers on day one of the second Test.

"The wicket had something in it for the fast bowlers at the start. I was looking to make the batter play. There was swing initially and then some seam movement too. I didn't get a wicket, unfortunately, but I did put a lot of pressure on the batters. Sometimes you get wickets off poor balls, but at least the pressure I put helped Shami bhai with his wickets."

Siraj signed off by suggesting that if India get to bat for two days, then the hosts will be in a great position on a pitch with variable bounce.

"Warner seemed to be struggling with the short ball, the bouncer was a good weapon on this wicket because it wasn't bouncing a lot. That inconsistent bounce can help you get wickets. I think their score is good, but we have done well to restrict them, and if we can bat for two days, then we will be in a great position."

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