Off-spinner R Ashwin confident of overhauling Australia's 530 on flat Melbourne pitch
Melbourne: Disappointed they might be after conceding “too many runs” to the Australians, but Indian off-spinner R Ashwin on Saturday said the tourists will pile up their own share today in the ongoing third cricket Test as the wicket has become flat now.
Murali Vijay en route his unbeaten 55 against Australia in Melbourne on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images. Inset: R Ashwin.
India had pushed Australia on the backfoot on Friday by reducing them to 259-5 but let the advantage slip on Saturday and the hosts ended up with 530 on the board. In reply, the Indians were 108-1 when stumps were drawn on the second day on Saturday.
Ashwin said it was disappointing to let go of the advantage but exuded confidence that his side’s batsmen will do the job on day three.
“We wanted to get them out pretty early. That was the plan. Unfortunately Steve Smith batted very well,” said Ashwin. “They got a bit too many runs for our liking. But if you look at the overall game, the score is pretty par for this pitch. The wicket seems slow and it is pretty flat. We’ll take 108-1 and we’ll like to pile on the runs tomorrow (Sunday).”
Australia finished their first innings just ahead of tea with Smith scoring his third successive hundred of the series. The young skipper was last man out for 192, and he got fine support from Brad Haddin (55) and Ryan Harris (74).
“We really thought Haddin had a genuine weakness over there,” said Ashwin explaining the Indian bowlers’ continuous approach of using the short-ball plan. “We continue to think he has a weakness over there. We will continue to target him in the next innings and the next Test match as well. He doesn’t quite look that comfortable to us.
“We were delaying the run-scoring (against the tailenders) and we were pretty much ready for it. But it wasn’t until the last 30 or 40 minutes when Smith teed off a bit,” Ashwin added.
While all the prime bowlers gave away more than 100 runs, Ashwin was still happy with his performance, particularly on the first day. He finished with figures of 3-134.
1: Murali Vijay has become the first Indian opener to register four fifties in a Test series on Australian soil