India gained some much-wanted mileage in the first Test against Australia in Adelaide after being bowled out for 250 on day two.
However, all the plans Australian team had of gaining an upper hand vanished in the first over itself when Ishant Sharma clean bowled Aaron Finch for a duck. After that, India kept picking wickets at regular intervals with R Ashwin starring with three wickets for 50 runs.
Ashwin removed left-handers Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja, and debutant Marcus Harris much to the joy of Team India.
Later in the day, Ashwin had a chat with the reporters and spoke about the day’s play and where he saw the match going on from here.
"I bowled an extended 22-over spell even before and after tea to make sure that we do not give away more runs. I thought we really bottled them up, soaked them up and put on pressure from both ends. We don't isolate it as a fast bowling or spin bowling pack. We identify it as a bowling unit together because one cannot exist without the other. Today was another perfect attrition day for us,” Ashwin said.
Talking about the position of the game, Ashwin said, "I see it as neck-and-neck in the game. Whoever can get momentum from here on has the edge in this Test. I think it is extremely well poised. Every run is going to be gold dust from here."
About the pitch condition, he said, "I thought there was a bit more stickiness yesterday and the speed has definitely come down. When we were batting yesterday, I don't think it was as slow as it was today. I think the wicket has slowed down considerably and I don't expect it to quicken up more either. I think it's going to slow down more."
"I don't know what's going to happen because it is a drop-in wicket. Because of the amount of grass, I don't see the footmarks widening as much as they did the last time (in 2014). If anything has to be done, you have to do it on the fourth or fifth day. We need to see how much it grips. Adelaide generally offers a bit of spin but looking at the grass today we didn't think we would get the hold that we are getting out there. There is a little bit of hold in the wicket and it is not considerable or vicious," Ashwin said about the Adelaide strip and future of the game.
Talking about his own game and bowling, Ashwin said, “There is not a lot happening off the straight or fizzing through (off the pitch), nothing like that. I was getting drift both ways, in and out, and I was able to control both that drift and get the batsmen holding their feet inside as well as outside the stump and hence hold them. That's how we got Usman Khawaja out and Shaun Marsh out as well. That's something that worked in my favor because of the drift, the ball going away and coming back in. It happens in Melbourne too. So, I am backing on that to give me some really good results.”
Ashwin was particularly ecstatic about the way he dismissed Shaun Marsh.
Ashwin explained, "I have dismissed quite a few other left-handers many more times. He is a fantastic player. There is a certain pattern that we saw through his videos before we got into the game. It was a sort of initial set-up that we wanted to do. Today the plan worked and not in the fashion that he dragged it on. But Shaun Marsh is one of the players that has played spin well in that batting order. So, we thought it is a different plan for him going into this match."
"There are ones that are going straight. I have not bowled much to the right-handers in this game but when Pat Cummins was playing, one went through the gate. So, there is a lot of action happening for the right-handers. But there is not much happening for the left-handers for an off-spinner. It is not easy to make the shots when you get the pace right through and there is a bit of hold because of the thickness of the grass," Ashwin talked about the assist from footmarks on the pitch.
"First time when I came here in 2011, Michael Clarke kept driving me through covers a lot. I was a bit inexperienced and kept tossing the ball up. Obviously, that's where you learn from burning your fingers once. I did not expect them to come after me very hard, but if they did I will be very happy. Last time I did pretty well and I was very confident. That's where my whole turning phase started as a bowler. So I was pretty confident coming here," Ashwin concluded by remembering the lesson he learned on the 2011 tour down under.
(Inputs from PTI)