4Th Test: India Showed Phenomenal Character, Enjoy Bowling With New Ball, Says Ravichandran Ashwin


(MENAFN- IANS) Ranchi, Feb 25 (IANS) India's veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin lauded his team's 'phenomenal' character in staging a fightback on the third day of the fourth Test against England at Ranchi. He added about enjoying bowling with the new ball, which propelled him to pick 5-51, his 35th five-wicket haul in Tests.

Apart from Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav's 4-22 and Dhruv Jurel's 90 were crucial in ensuring India are 152 runs away from sealing a series win in Ranchi.

"We showed phenomenal character. Kuldeep was brilliant today. He can put a lot of revs on the ball and he's got a lot of skill. But he changed his paces really nicely, he is very difficult to play when he does that and I'm sorry to take the five-for from him!"

"Dhruv Jurel's defence was gun and he showed great composure, we were very calm in the dressing room. For just his second Test match, he had a great gameplan and it gave us a huge lift," said Ashwin to broadcasters at the end of day three's play.

In England's second innings, Ashwin removed Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope on consecutive balls in the fifth over, giving him Test scalps number 350 and 351, thus surpassing Anil Kumble to become India's leading Test wicket-taker on home soil.

He then trapped Joe Root LBW, took a return catch on a carrom ball to send back Ben Foakes and completed his five-fer when James Anderson went for the reverse sweep and missed it. The ball ricocheted off the bat and Jurel stuck out his right glove to take a sharp catch.

"I enjoy bowling with the new ball and today was another of those days. I wanted that first over. I seem to have a bit of attachment to the new ball, it allows you to bowl a little quicker, and I enjoyed that."

"I had to change how I was thinking about the game because there wasn't much turn. I am someone who likes the ball to drop onto the pitch and get some bite out of the surface, but it wasn't like that here. I had to use side spin, hammer it into the pitch, and it was quite a mental switch that I had to make," added Ashwin.

The fifth and final Test of the series will be played at Dharamshala on March 7, which will also be Ashwin's 100th match in this format. "I don't have many expectations (for next week's 100th Test), I just love every minute with this team, and I'll be happy the longer it lasts."

England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir believes anything is possible on the deteriorating pitch. In dismissing India for 307 in the first innings, Bashir took 5-119, his first-five wicket haul in Tests. "It's still pretty surreal. I want to dedicate this to my two late grandads who passed away around a year and a half ago, they loved Test cricket and their wish was for me to play."

"I'm so grateful. My favourite wicket was Jaiswal's. He's in top form and he's an incredible player so to get his wicket was surreal, too. I used to watch some of the guys in my dressing room as a little kid."

"They're brilliant, they give me so much confidence and it's a wonderful group to be a part of that really gets the best out of you. We'd have liked one or two wickets in that period at the end, but we've got a big job to do tomorrow. On that pitch, anything is possible."

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