Ravichandran Ashwin took 6 wickets in the second innings at Bengaluru, helping India level the four-match Test series. He also became the fastest to reach 25 five-wicket hauls in Test cricket. But, despite his match-winning effort, he gives credit to fast bowler Ishant Sharma for his effort on Day 4.
What’s surprising is that Ashwin gave credit to his batting performance in the second innings. It would be apt to say that Ishant’s inning gave the hosts momentum they needed before the bowlers went out in the middle and bowled their hearts out.
Let’s give you a short backgrounder before we tell you the importance of Ishant’s inning. After a commendable batting performance from Indian batsmen on Day 3, India suffered yet another major batting collapse as they went from 238 for 4 from 258 for 9 in a matter of 18 balls as Australian fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood made full use of the new ball.
India were leading by 171 runs when no.11 batsman Ishant Sharma had come out to join Wriddhiman Saha in the middle who was running out of partners. With the way Starc and Hazlewood were bowling, everyone expected his presence on the crease short-lived.
This mans 6 runs set us up today!Bowled his heart out too..Well done Ishy pic.twitter.com/RSiUX0Ayft
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) March 7, 2017
But contrary to popular belief, Ishant showed application and intent in his batting approach. His defence against the fast bowlers was spot-on which reminded us of his innings against Australia a few years back when he scored 31 and helped VVS Laxman to win the Test batting with the tail.
Ishant played bowls that were darted into the stumps with a straight bat, getting behind the ball and watching the ball closely till the very end. Eventually, even Saha started to give him strike as he gained confidence in Ishant. As ordinary it may appeal, he helped India put on 16 more runs for the 10th wicket along with Saha to give India a psychological advantage against the Australians
As ordinary it may appeal, he helped India put on 16 more runs for the 10th wicket along with Saha to give India a psychological advantage against the Australians. He even scored a boundary sweeping Steve O’Keefe’s first ball of Day 4 by taking a big stride forward and going down on one knee.
Not just with his batting, he provided momentum with his bowling as well as he drew first blood and took the wicket of Australian opener Matthew Renshaw. He came round the wicket to Renshaw and managed to take an edge past his bat into Saha’s gloves. He opened the game early on and then came the fury named Ravichandran Ashwin who took 6 wickets and played a major role in India’s comeback in Border-Gavaskar Trophy.