R. Ashwin, who produced a quality spell of 14-3-30-3 to push New Zealand on to the back foot on the second day of the first Test match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday, believes that India will have to wrap up the innings very early on Saturday and enforce the follow-on.
“I think, looking at the weather, we have to look at the possibility of bowling twice to finish off the match,” said the 25-year-old off-spinner, who bowled in tandem with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (15-4-35-2).
Opener Martin Guptill was one of his victims. “I just wanted to land the ball in proper place. But, may be the drift was going the other way and he got beaten by that,” recalled Ashwin.
“Obviously, losing Brendon McCullum early meant a lot for the Kiwis,” he added.
Asked if the pitch was already taking a lot of spin, Ashwin pointed out that he and Ojha had bowled well.
“I think the new ball was little a bit hard and the seam upright. That is when we started extracting little more bounce and that enabled us to get wickets. And, as the ball got older, we had to be patient,” he said.
Ashwin said the side was eyeing a score of over 500, but had floundered and ended up short. “But, even this is a daunting score,” he added.
‘Pitch changed a bit’
Kiwi off-spinner Jeetan Patel, who claimed four for 100 when India batted, said the pitch had changed a little bit, and was taking more turn now. “But, I must say the Indians bowled some good balls to get the batters out,” he said.
On his own career, he said: “I am more focussed now and keen to be in the forefront of what is happening.”
The Kiwi offie asserted that it was not just because of his stint on the English county circuit that he had improved as a bowler. “I changed my bowling action a little bit a couple of years ago. That helped me a lot. But, county cricket meant bowling as many overs as I could for four months,” he said.
Patel said he felt it would have been nice if he had a spinner operating at the other end, and definitely missed world-class exponent and his former captain Daniel Vettori.
“But, I must say that I got lot of help from the bowlers from the other end. The results did come from them. And, a spinner at the other end might have meant getting less number of wickets too,” he said with a smile.
On the position of the Test match, Patel said he saw it as an opportunity for the team to face the music, stand up and fight. “We have to understand the situation and hopefully bring things right tomorrow,” he said.