Phi­lan­der’s de­fen­sive tech­nique was won­der­ful, says Ash­win

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - [email protected] times­group.com

Pune: In­dian pac­ers steam­ing in with in­tent has left fans, scribes and pun­dits in awe. But not Ravichandr­an Ash­win, or his team­mates. They are not sur­prised by what they see on the field any­more and would want ev­ery­one to get used to it.

“Last evening, (Fri­day) (the way) Ishant Sharma, Umesh Ya­dav and Mo­hammed Shami ran in was ex­tremely spe­cial. The way Shami was get­ting the ball to carry over to the keeper, it was a pleas­ant sight to see as it doesn’t hap­pen of­ten in In­dia,” Ash­win, 33, said. “The pace at­tack of ours has com­pletely earned the right of do­ing such things and we aren’t sur­prised about it any­more.”

South Africa re­sumed their in­nings from 36-3 at the start of the day, and were tot­ter­ing at 53-5, all five wick­ets shared by Ya­dav and Shami. Af­ter that, In­dia had to toil till the last over of the day to get the re­main­ing five wick­ets. But that did not frus­trate Ash­win. “I don’t get frus­trated and don’t want to get frus­trated ei­ther as I am happy to be bowl­ing again. Who­ever bats again, I am happy to keep bowl­ing at them. It is a good pitch and Phi­lan­der bat­ted beau­ti­fully. His de­fen­sive tech­nique against spin and fast bowl­ing was won­der­ful. He played with soft hands and the bat face was slightly run­ning down. I think the myth of tail-en­ders is over-stated and when he bats well, he bats well.

“Nowa­days, no­body is re­ally a mug with the bat. In our team also, ev­ery­body bats pretty well till No. 11,” Ash­win gave credit where it was due. Wrid­dhi­man Saha re­turned to the Test setup af­ter a long in­jury lay-off and has been bril­liant be­hind the wick­ets. He took a su­perb div­ing catch to dis­miss The­u­nis de Bruyn, and Ash­win was all praise for him.

“Time and again a lot of peo­ple from within the team have spo­ken about Saha and it’s a no-brainer to say Saha is one of the best go­ing around. I have hardly seen him miss any­thing from the rough. It just in­di­cates what good set of hands he has got. He has had some handy con­tri­bu­tions for the team. Great char­ac­ter and great keeper to have in the team.” he said.

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