Ravichandran Ashwin has been a bowler who believes in perfection and gives his best, when he is on the field. He has sent those batsmen back to dressing room, who has been pillar of their teams. and doesn’t seem to stop any time soon. India vs Australia series has brought Ashwin to the fore front as one of the most dangerous bowler in the field. In the past we have seen Kumar Sangakara and Alastair Cook become victim of Ashwin. Ashwin seems to have the hobby of grabbing hold of one of the best batsman from the opponent teams and then he doesn’t loosen the grip. This India vs Australia series has witnessed the same grip and this time Ashwin has gotten hold of Steve Smith. Ashwin has been the reason of Smith’s long walk back to pavilion twice in the two test matches that both the teams have played till now. Looking at overall test record Ashwin has sent Smith back 5 times in test matches. Now, we would not like to say that there is something personal here but Ashwin sure likes to go for the big names.
- Smith is one of the great batsman of his generation
There is no question about the ability of Steve Smith as a cricketer. Rather, he is one of the most dreaded batsmen for any team playing against Australia. And maybe that is what makes his wicket special for Ravichandran Ashwin. He is known to tackle spin bowlers quite efficiently. He uses his feet and wrists to great effect and this is what makes the bowlers crave for his wicket. But now, he has found his match. No doubt, Ashwin has been able to find multiple ways to get Smith out of his way and bring his team closer to victory.
- How did Steve Succumb?
During the pink-ball test Match, first he set Smith up with a conventional off-break and then with his killer straighter he got the wicket that he was pining for. On Saturday, Ashwin took Smith by surprise. The batsman had just entered the field and did not seem very sure of what his strategy was going to be. Ashwin must have observed his unsure leg movement and that is why he bowled a big turning off-break. Already doubtful Smith was now even more conscious as well as cautious. He was surely not expecting such a ball in the initial phase and now he couldn’t figure what was awaiting him.
Ashwin, like an experienced player, grabbed this unsure moment and showed his best work as spinner. He, again, bowled at the same spot but with a little less turn. It wasn’t an easy ball but a big trap for the batsman which Smith couldn’t resist. He wanted to play the ball and get a single so that he could get off Ashwin’s mark. But sadly, this didn’t happen. Smith played the ball but couldn’t keep it down and Ashwin got what he had set out for. He saw Steve Smith taking the same way to the pavilion which he had taken a few moments ago to enter the field.
Ashwin must have been so happy to see his strategy work and that too one of the best batsmen to play spinners. This second time Steve wicket must have created an aura around the Australian players. We already can see batsman trying to play Ashwin off the pitch. Now, this is something that all the bowlers aim for!
- Steve not the only target
If you think that Ashwin has some special corner for Smith in his heart, you are wrong. He did not shower all his special balls on Smith but saved some for other players too. On Saturday, he also got Tim Paine and Matthew Wade. Those were some great deliveries to witness and the clear case of desperation from the batsmen’s side. Wade wanted to get rid of Ashwin and in his desperation, he played a shot high enough to give a catch to mid-on. On the other hand, Paine followed the example of Smith and went back to his teammate in the similar fashion.
Ashwin is displaying all the learning that he has acquired in the three test matches that he has played before Australia Test series. All India needs at this time is to take care of their batting order, take care of that end of the game and we can be sure of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja taking good care of the Aussies when it will come to bowling.