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Ashwin acknowledges help from pitch, but not without 'guile'

February 16, 2021 15:16 IST

India spinners plotted England’s downfall on a dustbowl in Chennai, recording a massive 317-run win over the visitors on Tuesday.

India’s players celebrate after Ravichandran Ashwin dismisses Daniel Lawrence.

IMAGE: India’s players celebrate after Ravichandran Ashwin dismisses Daniel Lawrence. Photograph: BCCI

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday asserted that it was not just the turn offered by the Chepauk pitch that yielded him wickets but "pace and guile" did the trick in the second Test against England in Chennai.

The quality of the pitch has been a subject of intense debate with former greats like Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan sparring on social media while England assistant coach Graham Thorpe having termed it "challenging".


Ashwin, who was named man-of-the-match for his match figures of 8 for 96 and a brilliant century in India's second innings, played down the talk surrounding the condition of the pitch.

"As much as people were predicting things from the outside, I thought the balls that were doing much weren’t getting wickets. It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets," Ashwin said.

"I have been playing for years over here now and it takes pace and guile to do it. Keeping intent was very important," he said after India's massive 317-run win to level the four-match series 1-1.

Ashwin said he enjoyed his game in front of his home crowd as he is "aware" of the home conditions.

"Every load up gives a different result in terms of which way the pitch is behaving. I try and load up differently, use the breeze, use different angles to release the ball, speed of the run-up. This is working because I have created this awareness for myself.

"This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game. This was a red soil wicket, the first one was a clay wicket," said the 34-year-old who is just six short of 400-wicket milestone.

Axar Patel took five wickets in the 2nd innings  

IMAGE: Axar Patel took five wickets in the 2nd innings. Photograph: BCCI

Axar Patel, who took five for 60 in England second innings on his Test debut, said variation in speed of the deliveries helped him.

"It's a good experience, to get a five-wicket haul on debut is special," he said.

"There was much happening on the pitch. It was about varying your speed and I just kept doing it. Forced the batsman to make mistakes. On the first day itself, it was turning. So, we bowled tight lines and got the rewards.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who took two wickets for 25 runs in England second innings, admitted that he felt pressure as he has not played a lot of Tests in the last two years.

"I was discussing a lot with Ashwin about bowling in the right areas and putting the pressure on the batsmen.

"It was important to stay along with the team when it's playing well. My job was to keep control, contain runs from one end and chip in as one of the three spinners on this track. We have been planning for this series for a long time, right from the Australia series."

Kuldeep said the team was not worried after losing the first Test.

"We're relaxed, we knew we had the team to come back and perform. Everyone was just focused on doing well in this Test."


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