India were in a spot of bother when Wriddhiman Saha joined Ravi Ashwin in the middle. With the teams languishing at 126 for 5, things were not looking very bright for the Indian team but then centuries from both the players helped the visitors to post a respectable total of 353. Speaking to the media after the second day’s play, Ashwin spoke on various topics ranging from his partnership, his knock and much more.

Excerpts:

On his partnership with Saha:

When we got together we were in quite a bit of trouble and it was one of the wickets – I don’t know whether it’s improving any bit – where you are not in any time. There was a good chance that you might nick off or you might get a good ball any time. It was very difficult to score. So we went thought and bit the bullet quite hard and wanted to just stick in there even if the runs weren’t quite coming. Obviously, the results came later on. It was a good partnership and both enjoyed each other’s company to be very honest.

On whether his knock is special:

It is indeed. I mean if we look at the scenario in hindsight later on this could very well be a series-defining knock because we were in some trouble yesterday and there was every chance that we could be skittled out and also I thought it needed a bit of application. It was not like making a hundred back home or anywhere in the world. I’m sure about that because it was definitely not a wicket where you could just plonk your front foot and play through the line. It was a hard-fought day yesterday and it was no different today. We just hope we can capitalise on the rearguard action later tomorrow.

On whether added responsibility has affected his batting:

It’s difficult to try and think too far ahead. That’s easily possible if you are batting at No. 7 or 8, which has happened to me before when I have batted at No 8. When I have batted at No. 8, you think like a bowler at times and want to get a few extra runs. So I used to play a few more shots. 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 number six. 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 capitalise 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. One thing I try to do is to bat sessions. There have been times when I’ve scored hundreds in two sessions or less than two sessions. This is kind of different, but I do enjoy it. It’s time-consuming and concentration-consuming but it’s enjoyable.

On the pitch:

There is definite help in the wicket, it’s not like you can just plonk your feet and hammer it through the line, it’s not that sort of wicket. You have got to be patient, I guess. Long partnerships came in, one breakthrough and somebody gets into a spell. That’s what we’re looking at. If and when a couple of wickets fall, we can squeeze and jam them in.

The thing is that, they did get some momentum, I believe, from the Jamaica Test, but that’s how Test cricket is like. We didn’t come over here thinking or expecting to roll them over. They’re also a Test team, and in their home conditions, it’s going to be hard and we expected it.

On his communication with Saha during the partnership:

I think we batted a few times in the past. Even in Australia we put together a gritty partnership. The thing with Saha is he puts a price on his wicket and he’s a damn good player of spinners. He can tonk the ball, that I know from having played First Class cricket with him. I know Saha pretty well and the communication was sticking around rather than look for avenues to score. It was just that even if we played a couple of maiden overs, we wanted to tell each other that we need to keep going and it was not about the maiden overs they keep bowling.

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