R Ashwin picked 3 wickets    AFP
R Ashwin picked 3 wickets AFP

Unlike the first Test at Cape Town, Ravichandran Ashwin was one of the tormentors for South Africa at Centurion. With some help from the track, Ashwin came into his own and picked key wickets for India to down South Africa to 269 for 6 at stumps on the opening day of the second Test.

Speaking to the press, Ashwin claimed that Day One of the Centurion Test was one of his most relaxed days. He said, “I wasn’t really thinking too much and delivering the ball. My only intent was to try and keep it in a particular spot. Try and deliver from different positions in the crease, I was really enjoying it.”

Ashwin s record outside the subcontinent is not so impressive, but he did not let past experience deter his will. At stumps Ashwin’s figures read 3 for 90.

He added, I was just dogged enough. I think my experience of going to England and playing helped because this has been a sort of wicket which you get there especially where I played, at New Road, where it’s pretty flat. One ball jumps occasionally and goes flat for a pretty long time. My first-class team-mates would advice that I have to develop a lot of patience and hearing those things from them was definitely a reality check for me.

Talking about coming into the second Test, Ashwin said: “Two days from the game it looked like we are going to play an all-seam attack. And then when we walked into the ground yesterday, it was white in colour, the grass was coming off. All of a sudden, I really had to pull myself back and think ‘I am in the game now.”

“Today morning, when we came to the ground, it looked like a wicket that was really flat and had to have a spinner in the game. Personally, from my side of it, I was very happy that the grass was taken off, if not I think it would have been a all-seam attack. That’s the way it goes, right? I have seen a lot of cricket matches where people who haven’t been in contention to play the match, come in and get those wickets. So, this was one of those days.”