‘It also depends upon.....’ R Ashwin opines on whether Virat Kohli should enforce follow-on
Ravichandran Ashwin said that captain Virat Kohli will decide about whether India will enforce the follow-on or not after the third day of the second Test between India and South Africa in Pune on Saturday. South Africa were dismissed for 275 on Day 3, thus handing India a lead of 326.
“I haven’t thought about the follow-on,” Ashwin told reporters at the end of the day’s play at the MCA stadium when asked about his opinion on it. “The captain will decide overnight what we should do. It also depends upon how the bowlers recover tomorrow.”
Ashwin was all praise for Wriddiman Saha. Saha had a productive day behind the stumps, taking a brilliant catch off Umesh Yadav to dismiss Theunis de Bruyne and playing an important role in successfully overturning a caught behind appeal off Temba Bavuma that did not go India’s way.
“It’s a no-brainer to say Saha is one of the best (wicketkeepers) going around. I hardly saw him miss anything today even from the rough. It shows how good a keeper he is and what good set of hands he has got. He’s got a great composure too and you can’t really rule him out with the bat. He has made some really good contributions so he is a great wicketkeeper to have for us,” he told reporters.
Ashwin said that this pitch was quite similar to the one that was on offer in Visakhapatnam for the first Test. “Generally the scorecard tells you the story and one of the biggest problems with this South African team is that they bat till no.11 so you have to bowl at them like you bowl at a top order batsman. It was hard work but you expect to bowl out a team in 100-odd overs,” he said.
India would have got a much bigger lead on Day 3 had it not been for some late resistance from Vernon Philander (44 n.o.) and Keshav Maharaj (72). The pair added 109 runs for the ninth wicket and have possibly saved South Africa from suffering an innings defeat. Ashwin took four wickets, including those of Maharaj and South African skipper Faf du Plessis (64). The 33-year-old said that the pair batted pretty well and that he was too happy to be bowling again to be frustrated by the pair.
“I don’t get frustrated. I’m happy to be bowling again and whoever bats against me I am happy to keep bowling at him. It’s a good pitch, Philander batted beautifully. His technique towards spin and fast bowling was quite good. He played with soft hands and I think the myth of tailenders is just overstated. Nowadays nobody is really a mug with a bat. Even in our team everybody bats till number 11,” he said.