Having now won back-to-back Test series against Sri Lanka and now South Africa, Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Friday said ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is the main reason behind the team’s recent success in the longest format.
Ashwin bagged seven wickets in the final innings and 12 in the match to help India win the Nagpur Test and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series and also give Kohli his first series win at home.
Kohli was lavish in his praise for the premier off-spinner.
“Ashwin is a world-class spinner, he stepped up in a big way for us, even in Sri Lanka. He has been one of the main reasons why we are able to win back-to-back series. He is a consistent performer for us. It’s a pleasure to have someone like Ashwin in the side,” Kohli said after the match.
On a track tailor-made for them, the Indian spin trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra bagged all the 20 wickets for the hosts and Kohli was happy with his spin brigade.
“This is what Test cricket is, we need patience with the ball and believing a chance will come. Mishra showed great character in that period. Spinners have had an upper hand in the series,” he said.
India’s second win was similar to the first in terms of the number of days consumed in a Test match. If the Mohali game ended in under three days, then the triumph in Jamtha also came in the final session on Day 3. Kohli believed it was a challenging wicket.
“I think it was a challenging wicket, the batsmen applied [themselves] better in Mohali. It is all about application. There are no sorts of excuses on that, our batsmen showed character in three innings. Sometimes you have conditions where it is going to be bowler-friendly, chances can be created. Sealing the series was very important, Delhi will be an opportunity for us to be more consistent,” he said.
Ashwin received the Man-of-the-Match award for his career-best figures of seven for 66 and the champion bowler gave an insight into the hard work that went into picking wickets even on a favourable track.
“The wicket slowed up a bit today, there was help in the wicket but the way Faf (Du Plessis) and (Hashim) Amla played, we had to put some good balls. One team was trying to fight, one team was trying to win. batsmen go out to make 100s, I go out to get five-fors.
“I thought Amit bowled a wonderful spell after lunch, we prized out a couple of wickets in that post-lunch session. Anybody who goes out there and trusts his defence can play well,” he said.