Manchester, Aug 8: Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has not lost hope after the team’s surrender in the first innings of the fourth Test against England but felt disappointed on getting out after doing all the hard work.
India were bowled out for a paltry 152 in their first innings, but Ashwin (40) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (71) did try to save some face with a 66-run seventh-wicket partnership after the visitors were reduced to 8 for 4 in 5.1 overs.
“There have been times in the Ranji Trophy when teams have made a similar start. Mumbai were 0/5 at one stage if I remember and then they went on to win. So I am personally drawing inspiration from that and I believe we are still in the game.
I am just disappointed that I threw away my wicket because maybe I could have scored more runs,” said Ashwin, who has 3 fifties and 2 centuries under his belt in 19 Tests.
“There was something in the wicket for the bowlers to exploit and they bowled really well. Maybe we could have got a few more runs, you always want more runs. But we did well to get those wickets in the end and we are still in the game,” he added.
Playing his first Test of the series, Ashwin was not happy with the way he got out after doing the grinding bit.
“I don’t know how I feel about getting back again in the side. But when I went out to bat, I felt like a chicken out of the box. I was very scratchy when my innings started and the ball was doing too much.
“So I just tried to stick in there for a while and see what happens. But I am disappointed with the way I got out. I have only myself to blame for that. If we had more runs we could have put more pressure on them,” he said, after being trapped by a short ball from Broad and caught in the deep.
With the five-match series tied at 1-1, Dhoni opted to bat first in overcast conditions, but Ashwin defended his captain’s call.
“The wickets are pretty much similar in all the matches and the conditions were a bit different. So it was entirely the management’s call to bat first after winning the toss. In the end they bowled very well and used the conditions very well,” he said.
Ashwin though was full of praise for his captain who, despite an unorthodox technique, showed the top-order batsmen how to bat on this pitch.”Dhoni played a brilliant innings, a gutsy innings,” Ashwin said.”The ball was going around and in fact it was kicking off good length. So when we got together, he asked me to play my game, and play my shots, because that was the way to go.
There were hardly any runs on the board and we were looking to rotate the strike. We didn’t want to be sitting ducks in those conditions.”England are trying their bit to a get a firm grip on this Test and bat India out, but Ashwin is still hopeful of a good show by the visitors.
“We are still very much in the game. We need to knock a few wickets and hopefully we will get some good conditions to support us as well. Varun Aaron bowled well in short bursts and he did well to get us those two wickets,” Ashwin signed off.