After scoring 475 runs in reply to Australia’s 572 for 7, India had a chance to restrict the hosts in the second innings to give themselves good odds for a win. However, the plan was disturbed by Steve Smith and Joe Burns as they wrecked havoc on the Indian bowlers in the last session. In 34 overs bowled in the last session of the fourth day, Australia scored 213 runs.
The only Indian bowler to walk off the field at stumps with his head held high was R Ashwin. Although like his colleagues he gave away 5.52 runs per over, he at least had four wickets to show for them.
With Australia’s lead swollen to 348, Ashwin conceded that the Indians had leaked far too many runs for their liking. “We definitely leaked a lot more runs than we’d have liked to. They played a few good shots and we started poorly with the new ball,” he said.
“The game could have been different given the way we applied pressure initially, the ball was spinning and coming out of my hand well. Ideally I would have liked a bit more control from the other side.
“We picked up wickets but were leaking 15-16 runs from the other end and that didn’t help our cause. But it’s gone now and we have to look forward,” Ashwin said.
The Indian off-spinner insisted that the match is not yet out of India’s reach. “It was pretty similar in Adelaide as well and we did well there,” he said. “It is still decently poised although they have an ace up. I batted today and there are not a lot of devils in the wicket but it is hard to score.
“It’s a kind of wicket where if a batsman applies, it is difficult to get him out. Joe Burns showed that bowlers can be taken on on this pitch. It all depends on a batsman’s attitude and mindset. We will also try to be positive when we bat.”
Ashwin himself spent close to three hours at the crease for his 50 runs. About his knock he said it was one of his most cautious ones in Test cricket.
“When I went in to bat, I wanted to spend as much time at the crease as possible and bat as deep as I could,” he said. “This was one of my slowest innings in Test cricket. I wanted to eat into overs and make sure that if at all any team had a chance to win, it was India. But fortunately or unfortunately the game is very well poised and it could go either way. We’ll see what kind of strategies they adapt.”
Ashwin has put in a lot of work into his bowling and batting. He was India’s best bowler in the Boxing Day Test but didn’t have plenty of wickets to show for it. He is pleased that finally his effort is being complemented by numbers.
“When your hard work and efforts pay off in numbers, it is heartening. Given the attitude I carried coming into this game, I genuinely felt I could create something for the team,” he said.
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