Ashwin backs defensive approach

Ashwin backs defensive approach

Indians showed their defensive mindset, delaying the declaration on Sunday and thereby squandering a chance to have more time to bowl at English batsmen. But R Ashwin defended the move as a tactic to minimise England’s lead. 

“Plan was to just wipe out the lead, to eat as much into the lead as possible so that whatever they score after that it just becomes an even game. Nothing else,” Ashwin said.

Even while accepting that explanation, it was quite tough to fathom why Ashwin was refusing to take singles in the morning, something that would have helped Indians to reduce the margin that much quicker. “At eight down you don’t have the batsmen with best of abilities at 9, 10 and 11 so you can’t really expect someone to smack Anderson over the top for a six. All through this game the average has been 70-80 runs per session, so we were basically looking to take the singles.

“We got many 3 or 4 run overs, we were looking to just eat into the lead and they bowled just 12 overs in that particular hour so that’s what the best we could muster. Putting it into a larger scenario, four runs lead, just eating into the lead makes it even stevens.” It wasn’t quite so as the subsequent proceedings proved, as England moved ahead.

The Chennai offie said there’s scope for improvement in his bowling. “I would not say I am happy with my bowling because my team has not won.

It’s not that I have picked up wickets and won a game and I have been satisfied. There is always scope for improvement but there have been patches in the series where I thought I bowled really well, maybe bowled one of my best spells and still didn’t get rewarded. That does happen in Test cricket, I am learning my strides.”

So, do the Indians still believe they can pull off a win on the morrow? “Strange things have happened. I am not trying to be very optimistic but we have done it in India before to get 6-7 wickets in a session. It is just about trying to get a couple of early wickets tomorrow -- Trott and Bell.”

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