Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin admitted that the visiting bowlers were guilty of leaking too many runs in the final session of play to allow Australia a 348-run second innings lead on the fourth day of the final Test.
India gave away 213 runs in post-tea session as the hosts ended the day on 251 for six in 40 overs. After sharing the new-ball with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashwin (4-105) has picked four wickets but the scalps have come at a price.
“We definitely leaked a lot more runs than we would have liked to,” said Ashwin in the end of the day press conference.
“They played a few good shots. We started off pretty poorly with the new ball as well and definitely the game could have been different. The way we applied pressure, the way the ball was spinning, the way it was coming out for me and it could have been a lot different.
“Having said that, it is still pretty decently poised for tomorrow (Saturday). They definitely have an ace up their sleeve, but we will have to see how it goes. We batted pretty well in Adelaide. When I batted there weren’t many devils in the wicket. I definitely found it a little hard to score but it’s a new-ball wicket,” he added.
Ashwin scored his fourth Test fifty before his bowling effort in the second innings and he believes the match is still evenly poised.
“When I was batting I was looking to bat as long as possible, as deep as possible. I wanted to eat into as many overs as possible and make sure if at all a team won it was going to be India. Fortunately or unfortunately the game is very well poised now. You don’t know where it will go and it depends on what strategy they adopt,” said Ashwin.
Talking about his four-wicket haul, he added, “When you have been working on something and efforts you have put in, when it pays off in numbers, it feels heartening. I thought this could be a chance where I could create something for the team.
“Ideally I would have liked a little bit more control from the other side and that would have been nice, but they also took us on. I mean you have to give credit to them. They batted very positively. They wanted to take the game forward, which is a very good sign.”
If captain Steven Smith was pacy in his 70-ball 71 then young Joe Burns smashed a 39-ball 66 to pummel the Indian attack. Ashwin made no excuses for the wayward bowling.
“They took us on. Quite a few shots were played and we started pretty poorly with the new ball. We have to admit that when we picked up wickets, we kept on leaking 15-16 runs from the other end. That wasn’t helping the cause.
“These are times when a batsman walks out thinking he can get runs. There is nothing to lose and his team has given him the license to go out and bat freely. When there is pressure on, when there is 300 to get with the ball spinning the way it did, then we will see what Joe Burns can do,” said Ashwin, talking about Burns’ express hitting towards the end.
“We have to look forward now. We put ourselves in a decent situation this situation after batting well, but we will have to see how it goes. Even in Adelaide it was similar. We will see how they take it on themselves,” he added. An overnight declaration is expected from the hosts and Ashwin is certain that given the opportunity the Virat Kohli-led side will go for a result.
“It’s a wicket where you apply and bat it is hard to get you out. You can put a price on your wicket. We are here to play positive cricket, we are here to win games. If presented with an opportunity to go for a victory, we will try to go for it as sensibly as possible and see where we can go. We are here to win games of cricket and there is no two ways to go about it,” Ashwin signed off.