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Cricket: India's Ashwin wows home crowd with all-round brilliance

Cricket: India's Ashwin wows home crowd with all-round brilliance

India's Ravichandran Ashwin appeals for a wicket in a Test match against New Zealand in Wellington on Feb 22, 2020. (File photo: Reuters/Martin Hunter)

CHENNAI: Ravichandran Ashwin does not know if he will play another Test at his home ground in Chennai, and the 34-year-old was naturally thrilled to conjure an all-round performance that put India on course for a series-levelling victory against England on Monday (Feb 15).

Debate raged on the suitability of the turning track at the MA Chidambaram after England collapsed for 134 in their first innings with Ashwin leading the rout with figures of 5-43.

He then returned to smash 106 in front of a delirious home crowd to prove there was no demon in the pitch.

"I'm really thankful it's happened at my home ground," Ashwin told the broadcasters after the third day's play.

"I don't know if I'm going to play another Test here. I don't know when the next Test is going to be here, but I'm super pleased."

The off-spinner also removed Rory Burns in the final session as England, chasing a record 482, slumped to 53-3.

Along with skipper Virat Kohli, who made 62, Ashwin showed how to play spin on a deteriorating track where the ball often kicked up dust on landing.

"After the last Test, we were talking about how we're going to counter (Jack) Leach and start bringing the sweep to the game," Ashwin said, explaining his batting.

"We were practising that shot only for the last week to 10 days, and I'm very thankful that the plans really paid off."

The number eight batsman averages 27.54 in Tests, and his battling unbeaten 39 helped India secure a draw in Sydney in January.

Ashwin credited batting coach Vikram Rathour for helping him improve with the bat.

"I'm someone who tries a lot, and he is someone who's facilitating me to be able to go out there and express myself and explore various options.

"I'd credit him for how my batting has gone over the last four-five Test matches," added the spinner.

Source: Reuters/kg


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