India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who bagged his 18th five-wicket haul of his career, has pointed out that a combination of bounce and speed variations played a key role in ripping apart West Indies batting line-up instead of spin on a damp Sabina Park pitch in the second Test.
India’s ascendancy over the West Indies continued as they bundled out Jason Holder’s team for 196 before making 126 for 1 in their first innings at stumps on day one on Saturday.
“A little bit of bounce and speed variation, that was important, I thought. Most of the dismissals were brought about by difference in speeds rather than much of spin, actually. It was initially damp and there was some turn, but after that it flattened out a bit and started going straight. This ball, once it gets older, it becomes easier to bat. There’s a lot more time. I think it was more about bounce and speed variation that created the problem,” Ashwin told reporters after day one.
The 29-year-old premier spinner expressed that he was satisfied with his own performance, while pointing out that his hunger for five-wicket haul drives him on.
“I am pleased to have achieved it (five-wicket haul) again. Whenever I start a series or a tournament my initial intention is to get a five-wicket haul. Once I get the momentum I try to capitalise on it and look to hit that five-wicket mark. It is sort of a psychological thing. It is a hunger for me,” he added.
Despite ending the day’s play on top, Ashwin cautioned his side against getting too carried away and said that they need to be consistent with their performance throughout the match to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
“I was really taken aback by the counterattack that [Jermaine] Blackwood did,” he said. “It sort of put the game in the balance. And we had to break [through] twice and brought the game back. It’s clearly a game where the experienced side is seizing the more opportune moments. I would put it that way. With a little bit of experience and nailing the right moments, the game could get closer.
“This game has a lot of uncertainties. We just saw one when Sri Lanka pulled it off against Australia [in the Pallekele Test]. And they did the same against us in Galle [in 2015], so we can’t be lacklustre with that, we will have to keep doing our process properly.”