Philander’s defensive technique was wonderful, says Ashwin
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.