India is staring at yet another humiliating defeat in the series as England took a big 237-run lead in the first essay, but off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin exuded confidence that the visitor’s would do a better job with the bat in the second innings of the fifth and final cricket Test here.
Leading 2-1 in the five-match series, England are sniffing an innings victory again after the hosts finished day two at 385 for seven in reply to India’s paltry first innings score of 148 runs.
With an embarrassing sequence of batting failure in the series, it would now take a Herculean effort from the beleaguered Indian batting line-up to save the match with three full days play still remaining.
“The sun came out and the pitch had flattened out a bit. We toiled through the day (yesterday) and gave our best. It is about confidence at the end of the day and also enjoying the game we all love so much,” Ashwin said at the press conference after the second day’s play yesterday.
“So, we were talking in the field that we can do a better job in the second innings. Everybody has a bad day.”
Ashwin picked up two wickets in the post-lunch session yesterday as England slumped from 191 for one to 204 for four and it appeared as if India might be able to wriggle their way back into the game.
He was at the centre of action in that period of play picking his first overseas Test wicket since 2011-12. It is only his third Test since India started touring last December.
“While I was out of the playing eleven, I have worked on my action a bit more. I am trying to get more side-on. I also try and stay as balanced as possible and have been working at these small details,” said Ashwin, who took two wickets for 55 runs so far in the innings
“I try to be the best possible cricketer I can. I got a good spell in though I did not really start too well. I felt like I was slipping and then I came back in the lunch break. I looked at the videos and took some feedback on what I could be doing wrong and the speeds I bowled out there,” Ashwin added.
Joe Root (92 not out) though stood in India’s way once again and struck his fourth consecutive half-century in the series to defy the visiting bowlers. He also scored a hundred in the first Test at Nottingham and Ashwin was full of praise for the young English batsman.
“He (Root) is a hard competitor and I love to compete against him, and love to go against him again and again,” said Ashwin.
Ashwin also had words of appreciation for young Indian pacer Varun Aaron (2/111), who toiled hard the entire day yesterday.
“Varun Aaron was charging in throughout the day and he bowled quick. I think he was touching 90 all day long and that is what Test cricket is all about. Tomorrow he will come back and bowl another such spell,” he said.
India could have done better if they had not spilled chances in the slips, which is becoming a sort of bad-habit for the team in every match.
“Confidence is the keyword here, as you catch more and more, you get confident. When you drop one you feel horrible. (Murali) Vijay put one down and then he caught one and he was so happy, that he almost wanted to throw the ball up,” Ashwin said.
“So we are working hard at slip catching and we are trying different options there. As a young team we are working at addressing this,” he signed off.