Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar fully lauded Indian all-rounder R. Ashwin for his spectacular show in St. Lucia last evening. Ashwin was the driving force behind India’s heartening resurrection after the visitors were down and out on the very first day after losing ace batsman Ajinkya Rahane. In collaboration with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, Ashwin stitched up a delightful stand to get India right back into the game.
In the due course of their partnership, both Ashwin and Saha registered their centuries. While this was Saha’s first test century, Ashwin scored the fourth of his career, and second of this series. It was solely due to Ashwin’s gritty performance that the Indians could get to a respectable total. “Ashwin needs to be lauded for his mental strength, while Saha’s performance shows he’s settling in at No. 7, said Manjrekar in his column for ESPN Cricinfo.
However, the West Indies bowlers stormed back into the game as a flurry of lower order wickets saw India being dismissed for 353. “Heartening to see WI bowlers go for wickets,” Manjrekar said. “West Indies have come back bravely after a huge loss in the first Test and now look more than competent.”
The former batsman also said that on a pitch that was getting easier, it would be difficult for the Indian bowlers to come back into the match. “With the West Indies batsmen showing resilience, it might turn out to be tough for India to gain an advantage in this match,” he said.
Ashwin on the other hand, mentioned that working on his batting had helped him quite a bit. “Thankfully I had a very good preparation one month before the series. I batted quite a lot and devised a gameplan if and when I got a chance to bat at No. 6. The idea was to knock as many balls as possible. My goal is very simple. If I get a good start, if I get to 20 runs then I’m going to capitalize on it. Then I’m going to play percentage cricket. It’s all about trying to play the percentages and trying to string together a partnership and not look too far ahead in the game.