IND v AUS 2023: “It's a typically good, old-fashioned first-class pitch,” R Ashwin hits out at Nagpur pitch critics

Australian media accused the hosts of doctoring the Nagpur pitch.

R Ashwin | GettyThe talks of ‘doctored pitches’ grabbed the headlines before the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia in Nagpur.

The ground staff at VCA Stadium was seen preparing the pitch with some selective watering, leading to Australian media accusing the hosts of doctoring the surface to trouble the touring team’s left-handed batters.

Similar allegations were made after Australia’s first innings folded for a paltry 177 on Day 1 of the opening Test. No Aussie batter managed to hit a half-century as India’s spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja (5/47) and R Ashwin (3/42) ran through the visiting batting line-up.

Amid the hue and cry over the pitch, India off-spinner R Ashwin on Saturday (February 11) said that premeditation might have led to Australia's ordinary batting show in the first innings of the Nagpur Test.

"Sometimes when batters come to this part of the world, premeditation can get the better out of you," Ashwin told the broadcasters ahead of the third day’s play.

"I just felt like Carey wasn't trusting his defence enough. Sweeping and reverse-sweeping looks like his defence. So that's probably going to be his go-to option all through the series. We'll have to watch out for that. We had our plans in place and I thought it worked pretty well," he added.

In reply, India rode on skipper Rohit Sharma’s hundred and half-centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and Akshar Patel to finish the second day on 321/7, leading Australia by 144 runs in the first-innings.

According to Ashwin, the Nagpur track had no demons and it behaved like a typical Indian surface.

"It's still a pretty good pitch. Sometimes the way the wicket looks can throw you off in this part of the world. I still think that it's a typically good, old-fashioned first-class pitch that I've grown up seeing," he remarked.

Ashwin also scored 23 runs while batting at No. 3 in India’s first innings. The spin all-rounder said he is batting really well and getting into good positions.

“I've sort of got the tick on the way I'm batting. Not just playing out spin, I'm playing pretty well, getting into good positions. Had a lull for about a year and a half, two years maybe, wasn't getting into positions, was playing the ball a bit late, struggling for time,” said Ashwin.

“Those things do happen in your cricketing career but I feel like I'm batting really well again over the last couple of years. Playing that year with Rajasthan also helped me learn a little bit about my own batting,” he further stated.

The 36-year-old also expressed disappointment over his dismissal. Australia’s debutant off-spinner Todd Murphy caught Ashwin LBW on his way to a seven-wicket haul.

“I didn't look like I was going to get out until that. Pretty disappointing to get out that way because I felt like I got the pace. Eventually to give it away like that wasn't really pleasing for me,” said Ashwin.

(India Today Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 11 Feb, 2023

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