Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reckons having fresh bowlers on the park benefitted Team India in the fourth and final Test against Australia at the Gabba.
Australia's last defeat in Brisbane came against the West Indies in 1988. They were undefeated at the venue in their last 31 games before India took them down on Tuesday (January 19).
Chasing 328 to win in the fourth innings, the visitors rode on Shubman Gill’s classy 91, Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s gritty 56 to get over the line.
Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav couldn’t feature in the fourth Test due to injuries. In their absence, the bowling attack comprising T Natarajan, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, and Shardul Thakur took the field.
"I thought Gabba must be really their fortress or something given the way they were hyping. It was 1000 wickets experience versus our 13 wickets experience. In hindsight, it worked out in our favour, I guess. Fresh bowlers on the park. This is the first time that 20 players have been used to win an overseas series," Ashwin told fielding coach R Sridhar on his YouTube channel.
Before the fourth Test, Australian media had started reporting that Team India are scared to travel to Brisbane looking at the pitch.
Moreover, Ashwin and Tim Paine had a heated conversation in the third Test at Sydney, where the Australian skipper had said he can't wait to see him at the Gabba.
"Indian team should not leave the bubble. But 15,000 people will be allowed inside the stadium to watch the match. More like, we are caged animals inside a zoo. The crowd will have a go at us. Then they accuse us of not coming to fortress Gabba. Tim Paine missed the stumping of Pant in the second innings of the Gabba Test. But I started liking him, he invited us, played the perfect hosts by missing the stumping chance, and awarded us the series as well. Can't say he helped us win 2-1 but yeah, on a sarcastic note, he did," said Ashwin.
Fielding coach R Sridhar also agreed with Ashwin, saying that having fresh bowlers on the park worked in India's favour.
"It does not matter even if you are the world's best, because if you have tired legs, obviously you cannot execute your plans as well you would want to. So, it's great learning for workload management for all of us," said Sridhar.
"It is a combination of everything, it is multifunctional. The Sydney Test gave us confidence, we batted for 131 overs, we literally tired out their bowlers. But batting first gave them an advantage with an extra day off to their bowlers. But still, we had fresh beliefs. 'Mind over matter', as they say. The boys had the belief that they could do it. I think the whole of India sent their good vibes to us," he added.
(With ANI inputs)