Ravichandran Ashwin Photograph:( Others )
While Indian batsmen showed how to bat on a 'rank-turner', the Chennai strip irked some of the former cricketers as they expressed their displeasure surrounding the spinning track in the second Test. Ravichandran Ashwin, after the match said while everyone is within their rights to give their opinions, legends like Sunil Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri never cribbed or complained about the conditions when Team India played overseas tours.
India on Tuesday completed a massive 317-run win over England in what was the second Test of the four-match series at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. India with the win, levelled the series 1-1 with the next two Test scheduled to be played in Ahmedabad. There were plenty of opinions and debate surrounding the Chennai pitch in the second Test as the ball spun from Day 1 with Indian spinners and batsmen dominating the proceedings from the word go.
While Indian batsmen showed how to bat on a 'rank-turner', the Chennai strip irked some of the former cricketers as they expressed their displeasure surrounding the spinning track in the second Test. Veteran Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, after the match said while everyone is within their rights to give their opinions, legends like Sunil Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri never cribbed or complained about the conditions when Team India played overseas tours.
The likes of Michael Vaughan, Matt Prior, Mark Waugh had earlier said that the Chennai pitch for the second Test wasn't prepared to play for five matches thus terming it as a 'beach'. However, Indian batters, over the course of two innings, scored two centuries (Rohit Sharma and Ashwin), and three half-centuries (Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli).
It’s entertaining cricket as things are happening all the time but let’s be honest this Pitch is a shocker .. Not making any excuses as India have been better but this isn’t a Test Match 5 day prepared Pitch ... #INDvENG— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 14, 2021
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion and whoever is giving an opinion is well within their rights of giving an opinion. It's us who are reading into it and seeing if it is working or not. As cricketing fraternity or as a country dealing with such accusation (regarding the Chennai pitch) seems to get a little better. We must hold pride in how we are playing our cricket and obviously, Test matches are won over a period of time. You play a lot of overs and win matches,” Ashwin, who was named the Man of the Match for his eight wickets and century.
"When people give their opinions and I am fine with it. We also give our opinions when we tour abroad. But we don't complain or crib, we just get on with it. We haven't seen our greats be it Sunil Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri, they have been on a lot of tours. I haven't seen them complain about a lot of grass or something like that. It's more of a mentality. When people come with such opinions, we should magnanimously deflect it,” he added.
💯 in the second innings— BCCI (@BCCI) February 16, 2021
8⃣ wickets in the match@ashwinravi99 is the well-deserved Man Of The Match in the 2nd @Paytm #INDvENG Test for his incredible all-round performance at Chepauk. 👏👏 #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/5v0FhxfwB1
Ashwin dismissed England's talisman Ben Stokes both the times in the second Test in Chennai with the veteran Indian spinner showing his class with the ball. While it was an unplayable, loopy off-spinner to get rid of the all-rounder in the first innings, Ashwin bowled a straighter one to find the edge of Stokes’ bat in the second innings. After the match, he shed light on how he planned Stokes’ dismissal.
"We all know what a fine player Ben (Stokes) is. It is more about trying to change angles against him. There was a lot of deviation from the surface. They weren't amazing balls that got wickets, it was more of the mind games that were being played. It was about staying positive. It was about bowling in the right areas, some of the balls got massive deviation, some of the balls were dying. In the first innings, I wanted to push the ball up so that I can get him to play an aggressive shot. In this innings, he was defending a lot. There was a bit of cross breeze so I tried to change my load-up,” Ashwin explained.
Ashwin was paired up against the likes of Axar Patel – a debutant – and Kuldeep Yadav, who was playing the first Test since January 2019. While Axar was the one who bowled in tandem with Ashwin for the majority of the match, Kuldeep also chipped in and ended up with two wickets in the second innings.
"Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) is a massive presence in the team. I have been playing with him for years. I don't know how many matches we have played without each other in India but I thought Axar bowled beautifully, in the second innings he got his rewards. One of the ends was a touch slower, the other end had a bit of pace. Th end from which I was bowling was slow.
"We believed Kuldeep might be effective from the other end. I thought Kuldeep bowled beautifully today. Sometimes as a spinner, when you are bowling after a long time and are wanting to get that confidence, early wickets become important. And the moment, he started to get the batsmen driving, he was always going to be effective. Axar did his role. He played his role to perfection,” Ashwin concluded.
India and England will now head to Ahmedabad for the last two Test of the series with the third match being the pink-ball Test, starting from February 24.