Ravichandran Ashwin, who picked up eight wickets and scored 119 runs throughout the game, stated that it wasn’t the pitch that was doing the talking but instead the mindset of the batsmen which allowed India to get wickets. He also insisted that he has been working doubly hard on his batting.
After getting out to Joe Root in the first innings, Ravichandran Ashwin pushed aside the dismissal and put on a thorough performance, with a fifer in the first innings, where he was influential on the proceedings of the encounter. Amidst the talks of a tough pitch, that seemingly spun and turned a long way, the all-rounder put all the talks aside, with his batting performance in the second innings.
Walking in at 6/106, joining hands with Virat Kohli, the right-hander scored a scintillating century, where he was determined to put on a show, sweeping his way to success. To top it all, he ended up as India’s highest run-scorer in the second innings, taking them to 286, setting a monumental target for the visitors. However, he stopped them there in their dreams, with three crucial wickets, to stop tracks and set up a famous win.
Speaking in the post-match presentation, Ashwin reckoned that it was crucial to keep intent on this wicket, with the ball certainly doing its things.
“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. As much as people were predicting things from the outside, I thought the balls that were doing much wasn’t getting wickets. It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets. I have been playing for years over here now and it takes pace and guile to do it,” Ashwin spoke in the post-match presentation.
Ashwin also spoke about the importance of putting pressure on the bowlers, as a batting unit, which was one of the reasons that he swept more deliveries. He also insisted that his past failure with the bat might have come due to overthinking, which has changed since the Sydney Test.
“Keeping intent was very important. It is very important to put the pressure on the bowlers because if you allow them to dictate terms, it is going to get easier. I just wanted to take it upon myself, and after I connected the first ball, I knew I got a hang of this wicket. I am someone who tries hard, and when things don’t go my way, I try harder. Vikram Rathore has been very supportive. My batting was more about hands, to think tactically instead of technically. Ajinkya played a crucial role in telling me that I was overthinking it,” he added.
The all-rounder also revealed that he has several load-up, which offers different results, in terms of the ball gripping, drifting and keeping straight without turning much. Previously, after day two’s play, Ashwin opened up on his variations with the ball, his ability to use the various angles and the speed of the run-ups. In addition, the 34-year-old talked about the impact of the crowd on the team, admitting that it was easily his most ‘special’ Test in Chennai.
“That innings in Sydney really set the tone for me. I am enjoying my game and am really happy it happened in Chennai. 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. I have been playing it for the last 25 years. I really had to express myself. [In Tamil] As an eight year old I have come here on these very stands to watch cricket. I have played four Test matches here and easily this is the most special.”
“I get a hero’s feeling here playing cricket in Covid teams, and this knowledgable crowd came out in big numbers. They were 1-0 without the crowd, and we made it 1-1 with them. Hopefully we can take it forward,” he concluded.