SSC will be Ashwin’s litmus test as a spinner

The third and final Test at Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground will be a searing examination of Ravichandran Ashwin’s evolvement as an off-spinner, feels Suraj Choudhari.

 Ravichandran Ashwin is a crafty bowler who is brilliant in reading the batsmen’s mind at the crease. He’s got a number of variations up in his sleeve. His carom ball is one of the most innovative deliveries in his artillery as he delivers it to perfection without much discernible change in the action. But Ashwin has shown faith in his stock delivery, the off-spin, and reaped results. That’s been a heartening change in his approach to Test match bowling.

If the pitch provides some help for the spinners, Ashwin is lethal. Thus far in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka, Ashwin has showcased all his skills and craftiness to claim 17 scalps at a parsimonious average of 16.35. But his craft will be put to real test on the flat and docile wicket of SSC.

In the Test series Down Under last year, India were parched for a single victory and Ashwin’s performance wasn’t noteworthy. In the three Tests he played, he picked just 12 wickets at an awful average of 48.66. Though the pitch didn’t provide much of a help to spinners, his counter-part Nathan Lyon troubled the Indian batsmen and claimed 23 wickets in four matches at a decent average of 34.82 against a side who are known to tackle spin well. 

Of the last five Tests played at the SSC, four ended in a draw, which authenticates the flatness of the track. India have played seven Tests at this ground out of which they tasted success only in one game and lost two, the rest being a draw. Both the teams will definitely come out hard with a strategy to tackle the in-form spinners from both the sides.

Ashwin has shouldered the frontline spinner’s responsibility to perfection. But, as mentioned earlier, his big test will be at the SSC.


(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)