Brisbane, Jan 12 (IANS) India off-spinner R Ashwin, who along with batsman Hanuma Vihari was involved in a remarkable rearguard action that helped India draw the third Test, said he drew inspiration from a similar act of definace from South African Faf du Plessis in the Adelaide Test of 2012.
du Plessis had batted for 376 balls for his unbeaten 110 as South Africa batted for 148 overs while scoring 248 for eight wickets to deny Australia a win.
“I just kept telling myself if I can keep dead-batting everything like Faf du Plessis did in Adelaide in 2012, I can give myself a good chance,” said Ashwin in an interview to BCCI.tv after the match.
Ashwin added that the result was yet to sink in as both batsmen went numb and blank.
“Like Ravi [Shastri] bhai would say, the penny hasn’t dropped. So, we can’t really say how we feel. Entirely, I can’t explain how I am feeling but it was really, really special. I think both of us went numb and blank for a while. In fact, we didn’t celebrate it at the end because we didn’t know what to make of it — because we were so channelised on facing a particular bowler and keep dropping and keep dropping and dead-batting it,” said Ashwin who overcame a tweaked back to play about one-and-a-half sessions for a draw.
Ashwin said facing Lyon was easier as his back was getting stiff while facing the pace bowlers. He also elaborated on why did not go for the shots as it was putting more stress on his body.
“When Nathan Lyon was bowling, the first 3-4 balls I faced, my back [pain] was shooting through my lower back to neck. So, I went and told him [Vihari] that I shouldn’t have played that shot over the top. It completely tweaked it out,” he said.
“If I gave it a break and didn’t play him for an over, my back was getting stiff again. So I told him [Vihari] that I might as well stay here and play him, because if I don’t play, it stiffens up because I have the chest-guard on. In the middle of a Pat Cummins spell, I found myself in the eye of a storm. There was a bit of luck for us. But I think we got through it pretty well,” he added.
Ashwin pointed out the good communication he had with Vihari.
“From our side, the communication was very, very good. Not too sure if the runs were important at that time. It was about the batting time. So the communication between us was whenever we got comfortable for a certain bowler in a certain spell, then we wanted to hang on to that side and especially with that hamstring injury and my back also. We didn’t want losing our concentration or playing a shot or two here. We really hung in tight. Especially towards the last four-five overs, we knew we were close. It started to slip up a little bit so we wanted to rotate strike and play each other’s end. Vihari’s effort was outstanding with the way he was able to grind,” he said.
The 34-year-old off-spinner gave credit to Rishabh Pant for counter-attacking the Aussie bowlers.
“Today morning, the way Rishabh played, it made everyone hopeful of something fantastic that could have been achieved but nevertheless, Rishabh really laid the foundation to be able to see through the last three-three-and-a-half hours,” he added.