Landmark man R Ashwin, who races to 150 Test scalps, is taken aback by India’s shot selection in the first innings against South Africa; slams media over turning Mohali track
Mohali: Ravichandran Ashwin yesterday ridiculed the media attention on the pitch for the first Test, saying most of the batsmen got out by playing bad shots. After India were bundled for 201 in the first innings, Ashwin made sure with his 13th five-wicket haul that the hosts take a narrow 17-run lead over South Africa.
Ashwin not only raced to the fastest 150 scalps in Indian Test history but also became the first man in over 100 years to bag 50 wickets after opening the bowling during the first cricket Test against South Africa, in progress at Mohali.
Ashwin, who had taken 45 wickets when opening the Indian bowling in Tests in the past, picked up 5 for 51 in South Africa’s first innings total of 184 after opening the attack with the new ball.
“Honestly I think it’s the batting that makes the wicket look what it is. I don’t know if any Indian journalist knows the name of the curator in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, but we seem to get a hang of Daljit Singh very quickly,” Ashwin told reporters after the end of second day play.
“None of us go to South Africa and say the wicket is green. The grass is less green at the bottom and stuff like that. I don’t hear any such statements.
But unfortunately here the first day some of my good friends came and said the wicket is a little drier. We have played way too long in Mohali to know how the wicket works.
“I was very surprised with some of the shots which we played in the first innings. But putting that aside I think (Hashim) Amla’s ball was a very good one.
“Elgar, I have seen him bat... had a wonderful time in watching him on youtube last night. He has done that a lot at Johannesburg. I made it a point to tell him it’s not Johannesburg. I thought it coming, I knew he is going to play that shot,” said Ashwin.
Mohali: R Ashwin was always going to be crucial on this surface, particularly after India scored only 201. Thus, it was quite surprising when India started the day with Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra instead of Ashwin. However, Ashwin wasn’t perturbed at being introduced late as he feels he has come back from a layoff and it helps him get some time.
“In the morning when there is rolling done on the wicket, there isn’t much that happens. I don’t know if that was the thought process behind me getting to bowl a little later, but I am happy,” he explained.