Ashwin happy to see grass taken off

Ashwin happy to see grass taken off

Ashwin happy to see grass taken off

R Ashwin had not much of a role to play in the first Test as fast bowlers from either side ruled the roost, taking all but 38 wickets to fall on Newlands surface. Two days before the second Test began here on Saturday, the off-spinner said, wasn't sure of playing the match. That he turned out to be their most successful bowler (3/90) was one of those strange run-arounds.

"Two days from the game, it looked like we are going to play an all-seam attack," revealed Ashwin after helping India restrict South Africa to 269 for six, a score they could have bargained for at the start of the day. "And then when we walked into the ground yesterday, it was white in colour, the grass was coming off. All of a sudden I really had to pull myself back and think I am in the game now. Today morning, when we came to the ground, it looked like a wicket that was really flat and had to have a spinner in the game," he observed.

Ashwin admitted he was delighted to see the grass being taken off the pitch and that not only increased his prospects of playing but also extracted some turn.

"Personally, from my side of it, I was very happy that the grass was taken off, if not I think it would have been an all-seam attack. That's the way it goes, right? I have seen a lot of cricket matches where people who haven't been in contention to play the match, come in and get those wickets. So, this was one of those days."

Ashwin also took an indirect dig at how he has been left to play only Test cricket these days.

"No, actually not," he said when asked if the appearance of the pitch two days ago affected his preparation. "As I told you, I was prepared to go. I mean, I play (only) Test cricket now, I get a lot of breaks in between, so might as well be ready when I get an opportunity. So, there is no reason to unfasten the seat-belt, you are always on."

South African opener, Aiden Markram, who fell for 94 to a nothing shot, felt the game was "pretty much even" at the moment.

"I thought we (openers) showed good fight, winning the toss and batting first, especially after how last week played out. It is nice to get the start we did get and for Hash and AB to prolong the partnership. We would have liked not to have lost those clump of wickets at the end."

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