After scoring his fifth Test hundred on Day 3 of the second Test against England in Chennai, Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that playing sweep shots against the spinners was a well thought out strategy.
Ashwin scored 106 from only 148 balls in India’s second-innings total of 286, on a surface that some experts deemed unfit for Test cricket.
Speaking at the end of the day’s play, the 34-year-old stated that he will sleep well through the night to recover. On his plan to use the sweep shot to counter England’s slow bowlers, Ashwin explained:
“Even after the last Test, we spoke about how we are going to counter (Jack) Leach and probably bring sweep to the game. Last time I was sweeping, I was 19 years old, and was dropped from the first XI after I got out. I hit a bit of sweep shots well today. I am thankful the plan has paid off. Sort of had a very good day. I don’t know when I will play my next Test here, but I’m very pleased.”
Ravichandran Ashwin was the last man out as India set England an improbable 482 to win the Test.
Credit to Vikram Rathour for improvement in my batting: Ravichandran Ashwin
During his innings, Ravichandran Ashwin featured in a 96-run stand for the seventh wicket with Indian captain Virat Kohli. He notched up his first Test hundred since August 2016, and first against a team other than the West Indies.
The veteran off-spinner credited batting coach Vikram Rathour for the significant improvement in his batting over the last few matches, including the Sydney blockathon. Praising Rathour, Ravichandran Ashwin said:
“I have started practicing the sweep; I can’t say if it has just been happening over the last three days. Vikram Rathour has been helpful in exploring new options. I’d love to credit him for how I’ve played with the bat in the last few months.”
On the discussion between him and Mohammed Siraj as he approached his hundred on his home ground, Ravichandran Ashwin said it was a bit light-hearted. He revealed:
“In the past, he’s (Ishant Sharma) been with me when I got hundreds at home and once Siraj came, I knew how to approach. I was just telling Siraj to look at the line of the ball and go wherever he wants. It was a funny thing and it was exciting to see how he [Siraj] celebrated and that says a few things about the dressing room. The moment I got the runs and looked up at the balcony, the applause was thunderous. I can’t thank the crowd enough, they have been very supportive.”
England crumbled to 53 for 3 at stumps on Day 3 of the Test. Axar Patel picked up two wickets, while Ravichandran Ashwin scalped one.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 18:37 IST