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'Felt I was making my debut all over again'

Last updated on: December 18, 2020 21:53 IST
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‘There's an innings to go and I'm looking forward to the entire Test series. It's a great opportunity for me.’

Ravichandran Ashwin finished the first innings with figures of 4 for 55, including the important scalp of Steve Smith.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin finished the first innings with figures of 4 for 55, including the important scalp of Steve Smith. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

India's spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin, who stole the show on day two of the pink-ball Test by picking four-wickets, said he felt like he was "making a debut".

Ashwin took the field for an international game after ten months -- he last played a match for India in the longest format of the game in February this year as all sporting fixtures were either cancelled or postponed post that due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am so happy that we are playing Test cricket again. It's been a long time and I didn't imagine that we will be playing Test cricket looking at what's happening around," Ashwin said during a virtual press conference.

 

"Me being extremely mad about the sport, did a lot of work during the lockdown. So it was refreshing to go out there and bowl. The feeling was great the pink-ball Test and all that new thing about the pink ball," he added.

Ashwin first hogged the limelight on day two when he dismissed in-form batsman Steve Smith. The spinner admitted that it was a "big wicket" and it could be a big factor in the final context of the match.

"Felt amazing to go out there and play. I felt I was making my debut all over again. So I really enjoyed bowling.

"Obviously, Smith wicket was a big wicket, given his appetite for runs and the amount of time he bats, from that context of the match, it was a big wicket. The way he bats, so it was an important wicket and I enjoyed it. Really happy," he added.

In terms of performance, he feels this bowling effort was better than last time.

"We thought probably we put up a bowling performance that is a notch better than what we did last time."

The 34-year-old now knows how to put perceptions in the back-burner and enjoy the game.

"Things can be blown out of context and I have put those things in the shelf in the backyard. I really want to enjoy my trade and want to have all the fun I possibly can."

"I don't want to sit back and think whether that's the best or not," Ashwin said when asked to rate his performance.

"There's an innings to go and I'm looking forward to the entire Test series. It's a great opportunity for me."

The 34-year-old Ashwin also received praise for his performance from his Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting.

"Batsmen have looked to be quite aggressive against Ashwin. I think they've just underestimated Ashwin and how good he is," Ponting told Channel 7.

Pointing opined that Australian batsmen paid the price for being over aggressive against the wily spinner.

"They've looked to score their runs from him, and it's been their undoing," Ponting said.

Brought into the attack by skipper Virat Kohli in the 27th over, Ashwin claimed the wicket of danger man Smith (1).

Making use of the additional bounce and his perfect length, the veteran spinner then blew away Travis Head (7), rookie Cameron Green (11) and Nathan Lyon (10) to return with impressive figures of 18-3-55-4 in the first innings.

India bundled Australia out on 191 after Umesh Yadav, Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah's heroics with the ball. The visitors were 9/1 in the second essay when the umpires ended play on the second night. The 62-run lead with nine wickets in the bag could prove to be crucial as the wicket isn't getting any better for batting.

Mayank Agarwal (5) and nightwatchman Jasprit Bumrah (0) will look to start afresh after battling it out against Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in the dying stages of the second day.

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