India very much in the game despite below-par total: Ashwin

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03 Jan 2022 | 05:11 PM staff

India very much in the game despite below-par total: Ashwin

Ashwin described the Day 1 wicket in Johannesburg as two-paced

India's premier spinner R Ashwin termed his team's first innings score as slightly below par on a "two paced" Wanderers pitch but might be enough with their bowling arsenal to make a match of the second Test against South Africa.

India finished their first innings at 202 with Ashwin scoring a crucial 46 towards the end of the innings on a testing pitch after stand in skipper K L Rahul (50) opted to bat.

Asked what's a tricky total, Ashwin replied: "What a good total in South Africa is tricky, especially in the first innings. It's always a good thing to win the toss and bat first and you want to post a good score in excess of maybe 260 or 270 which is around about score.

"South Africa always batted first (in the past) and got in excess of 250 and dominated games. Maybe we are a bit short. But I still think we've got with our entire bowling arsenal available tomorrow. Fingers crossed. We can definitely make something out of this total," he said, hoping Siraj will be fit to bowl on Tuesday.

The champion off-spinner also hoped for the pitch to quicken up on day two.

"I just felt the pitch was a little two paced. Generally Wanderers has the tendency to start a bit slower and start getting quicker. It did quicken up a bit but it just feels a little different to a typical wanderers pitch so we'll have to wait and see how it responds tomorrow."

Regained his batting flow

Ashwin scored at an impressive strike rate of 92 in his innings including six fours and was not afraid to attack the pacers.

Now averaging 26.73 since the start of 2021 after having averaged 16.72 between 2017 and 2020, Ashwin feels he has got the flow back in his batting.

"Look, I think in between somewhere for a couple of years, trying to you know sort of get very technically right or whatever it is to try and build on scores, I think I lost a bit of my flow with respect to getting into good positions at the crease and I've always I knew even before that I've always batted at a good clip.

"So it's not been a conscious effort to go out there and keep playing those shots. If it's there, it's there. For me, I get into positions where I can play some of those shots, which may be some of the other specialist batters might not be able to play but this freedom is what gave me success in the past," he said.

Success of Rahul, there can't be one formula

Rahul has been stand out batter for India in the series, carrying on his good work in England.

Ashwin said that the stand-in skipper has cracked his own formula to succeed in the longest format.

"In Test cricket there is no one formula for success. Teams are analysing there's a lot more footage available. There is a lot more technical assessment and breakdowns that go on in today's world and Test cricket is all about you responding to the different sort of questions that are being thrown at you.

"...and K L has found that solution to what's what he probably thought he needed to respond to and it's working for him and he's one of those players who's got the game we all know that he's got the game he's got the raw material so it's all about how you keep finding out and keep answering these constant questions that are being thrown at you.

"Since the England series, he has looked the part," Ashwin added.

(with inputs from PTI)

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South Africa vs IndiaIndia tour of South Africa, 2021/22IndiaSouth AfricaRavichandran AshwinKL Rahul

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