India are in a commanding position in the Vizag Test, and will look to seal the match in the remaining two days. Jayant Yadav, who made his debut in the Test, and Jonny Bairstow, who made a half-century in the first innings, have interesting observations on the off-spinner.
Yadav, speaking to PTI, thanked his senior spinner for his inputs. Recalling his association with Ashwin, Yadav said, "We met through (India bowling coach) Eric Simmons. He was preparing for his England tour and very sweet of him to help me as I was just playing Ranji Trophy that time.”
Praising Ashwin, he told PTI, "It's a very proud moment for any cricketer. As you graduate from U-17, U-19 and Ranji Trophy, Test cricket is the topmost level. The first day in the dressing room helped. Just to see how he prepares and to get some inputs from him was quite special. We stayed in touch, we have a good rapport and a good friendship going on. He talks a lot of sense about bowling.”
On how Ashwin helped him, Yadav revealed, "He did not give me a lot of technical inputs but he told me to bowl different lines to different batsmen and to be consistent. He also told me a few things so that my length goes up.”
On the dominant position India find themself in at present, he said, "Tomorrow being the fourth day and fifth day to come, it's definitely going to be a tough proposition. We strive ourselves to be a consistent. It's going to be really tough as you see the variable bounce and the odd ball turning and keeping straight.”
While England face a tough task of saving the Test, wicket-keeper batsman Bairstow has expressed confidence that his team can tackle Ashwin in the fourth innings. Ashwin claimed 5 for 67 in the first innings to bowl out England for 255 in response to India’s 445. "We have played him well to be honest. He bowled nicely today but the accuracy he bowls with is something that is a challenge. Every world class spinner has accuracy and that is probably his main asset, his pace variation is something that is going to be a challenge," Bairstow, told PTI.
Bairstow pointed out to the fact that England batted extremely well against Ashwin in the first, when the spinner finished with disappointing match figures of 3 for 230. "In that first Test we played him nicely. He did bowl nicely, we know going into the fourth innings we can play Ashwin well," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
On England’s plan for the remaining part of the Test, in which they are back foot, Bairstow said, “"I think it's important for us to try and make it as difficult as possible for India to score runs at a rate they want to score. The longer we can delay the amount of runs they score, puts up in a better position.”
“We will try our hardest in the morning session to restrict the amount of runs and try to take a few wickets. Definitely it will be hard on the pitch with our bowlers. When we bat whenever it may be there's uneven bounce on the pitch. We will try to chase down whatever is set. We got to be still positive. At the end of the day, it's still the run chase. That's the exciting part of it however many that may be,” he told PTI.
--By A Cricket Correspondent