St. Lucia, Aug 11 (IANS) After smashing his second century in the ongoing Test series against the West Indies, star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has said his hundred in the third match might well be a series-defining knock.
India are 1-0 up in the four-match Test series with a comprehensive victory in the first match by an innings and 92 runs, followed by a superb fight-back by the hosts in the second Test which saw the rain-interrupted match end in a draw.
Riding on valiant centuries from Ashwin (118) and stumper Wriddhiman Saha (104), India recovered from the early jolts they received on the opening day to post 353 runs in the first innings on the second day. At stumps on Day 2, the West Indies reached 107 for the loss of one wicket.
“In hindsight, later on this could very well be a series-defining knock because we were in some trouble yesterday and there was every chance that we could be skittled out. I thought it needed a bit of application. It was not like making a hundred back home or anywhere in the world,” Ashwin told reporters after the second day’s play on Wednesday.
“I’m sure about that because it was definitely not a wicket where you could just plonk your front foot and play through the line. It was a hard-fought day yesterday and it was no different today. We just hope we can capitalise on the rear guard action later tomorrow,” he said.
Ashwin and Saha shared a mammoth 213-run partnership for the sixth wicket to rescues the visitors. Ashwin scored his fourth Test century while Saha brought up his maiden hundred in the longest format of the game.
“Saha expressed himself this morning, and he played quite a few shots. To me, it was very important that I hung around, because that sort of solidity was very important. We knew we were about 50-60 runs away from any kind of respectability so my game plan was very simple.”
“As I walked in yesterday, I walked in today. I wanted to leave the balls and I wanted to play close to the body. Try and bat time, it was not about knocking off the hundred or going and playing shots, it was all about batting time and trying and stringing partnerships,” the 29-year-old added, while speaking about their big partnership.”
The Chennai-born tweaker further stressed that the pitch was not easy to score on but was honest to confess that he and Saha enjoyed each other’s company in the middle.
“When we got together we were in quite a bit of trouble and it was one of those wickets where you are not in any time. There was a good chance that you might be nicked off or you might get a good ball any time. It was very difficult to score.”
“So we went thought, bit the bullet quite hard and wanted to just stick in there even if the runs weren’t quite coming. Obviously, the results came later on. It was a good partnership and both enjoyed each other’s company to be very honest.”
“The thing is that they did get some momentum, I believe, from the Jamaica Test, but that’s how Test cricket is like. We didn’t come over here thinking or expecting to roll them over. They’re also a Test team, and in their home conditions, it’s going to be hard and we expected it,” Ashwin said.