'We need to bat as much possible and get a big lead'
Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal in the final over on Tuesday has made the contest against Australia in the opening Test interesting, and India will have to bat really well on Day 3 to get the upper hand, feels spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
"That one wicket in the end, we again have to rebuild before the second new ball. It will be interesting contest and we would have to stick our heads out and bat really well tomorrow," said Ashwin, who took three wickets for 81 runs in Australia's first innings of 333 all out, after the end of the second day's play on Tuesday.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
'We know Laxman is there'
"100 runs behind, we know how Rahul (Dravid) and Sachin could have really stacked it up. That didn't happen. Hopefully, someone else can do it; we know Laxman is there.
"If the sun beats down and wicket eases more, we need to bat as much possible and get as much lead as possible. As far as this game's result goes, it's all about first innings situation the two teams find themselves in," he added.
Ashwin was disappointed that Tendulkar (73) couldn't go on to get his 100th international century, but said it would come in due course.
Image: Rahul Dravid
'Sachin's ton is eventually going to happen'
"It's eventually going to happen. No point in bothering about it. We're very happy to be in the position we are presently. Probably one wicket lesser would have been nice. Tendulkar played very well, but, eventually, he got a good ball," added Ashwin.
According to the off-spinner, it's the kind of MCG wicket where a batsman never really finds himself in. He hoped the MCG track would open up to offer him help in the second innings.
"Hope there are patches which open up. As of now, the wicket is hard and solid underneath; it doesn't look it would break much. Any deviation from the wicket would certainly help. We have to put ourselves in a good position with the bat and then take it from there."
'There wasn't any spin on Day 1'
"It's not often spinners get wickets on day one and two. For it to happen, the bowlers bowling from the other end, ball coming out of your hand, drift, there are a lot of factors to go your way to take wickets on day one", Ashwin said.
"I thought I bowled well but it didn't go my way. You have to test a spinner in the second innings when there are really some patches that open out.
"I haven't played too many games here. Yesterday, there was a lot of swerve in the air, the ball appeared to hang and drop on the batsmen. It was also drifting both ways, that's what I relied on mostly, there wasn't any spin but the drift made it appear as if it was spinning."
'I am just trying to evolve as a spinner'
Ashwin said he is getting the bounce that he needs to be effective on the track.
"Bounce is one factor which is going to keep me in the game always. I really enjoyed it, the ball has done enough to keep the bowlers interested. Even now we saw both of them reversing the ball and inducing wickets at close of day. I hope it just flattens out and becomes really good for us tomorrow."
Ashwin denied he has a mystery ball which batsmen find difficult to pick in the middle.
"There are no mystery balls; I am just trying to evolve as a spinner, trying to improve day by day. Anything I find interesting I try and give it a good shot.
"There was a readiness of all four of us to take wickets, we were all looking to get in the park and get 10 wickets. It's going to be how well we recover in the second innings and that readiness has to come back," he said.
'We gave away too many runs after lunch'
Ashwin praised his team's bowlers but didn't think it was any better than what Australia bowled.
"Possibly, we got better conditions, clouds never really opened up yesterday. The wicket was probably two-paced, it was stopping and seaming, even today it was really seaming, you could never get on top of bowlers, we bowled well in certain phases of the game, probably we could have lent a couple of loose balls lesser to them," he said.
"We gave away too many runs after lunch. I was going through a very decent spell not in terms of wicket but in terms of keeping batsmen down and keep them guessing. That role was important for the team management for they wanted to run three seamers from the other end.
"If one end wasn't blocked, the seamers would have had trouble coming again and again. I told MS (Dhoni) I would try to keep one end shut shop and keep cover in the bargain. I am so happy I could do it," he added.