The Hindu

Ajinkya at slip has been amazing, says Ashwin

- PRINCIPAL CORRESPOND­ENT

BENGALURU:

It is a measure of how well R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bowled — and perhaps how poorly those facing them batted — that hours apart on the same pitch, India seemed untroubled but South Africa tormented.

“There wasn’t enough on offer for the spinners,” Ashwin said afterwards. “We were not beating the bat as often as we were doing in Mohali, but Jadeja was very good in the session after lunch. He was bottling one end up, which was precisely our plan, and then they played a few false shots and brought us back into the game.”

The off-spinner explained India’s decision to bowl first. “The wicket was a little damp. So we wanted to bowl first and see what we could extract. Even in the first-class games here, generally it does a little bit on the first day,” he said.

It was a reflection on his confidence, Ashwin felt, that he had largely bowled without a cover fielder. “From Sri Lanka I’ve not put a cover in place. There have been times when I’ve been cut through backward point where I’ve tried to drop the ball short, but even that was a conscious decision. It gives me a chance to open the gate, to open up my options in the slip region as well. So it’s confidence and also a bit of planning,” he said.

Ashwin hailed India’s close-in fielding. “Ajinkya at slip has been amazing,” he said. “He seems to be pulling off all the catches that are coming his way. We are not even thinking of chopping and changing.

“We want Ajinkya at slip and that’s the kind of confidence that’s very important for the bowler at the top of his mark. He made Duminy’s catch look easy today but it wasn’t. In the past there have been catches that have gone down, so I know how important in the field he is right now.”

The South Africa coach Russell Domingo rued his side’s sloppy batting performanc­e. “There were far too many soft dismissals,” he said. “Against quality bowling like India’s you have go to limit the freebies. We were surprised to be batting first today, looking at their side and the history of the ground. It was a good batting pitch but we just didn’t play well enough,” he said.

 ??  ?? Ajinkya Rahane.
— PHOTO: AFP
Ajinkya Rahane. — PHOTO: AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India