When Ravichandran Ashwin was declared fit by the team director Ravi Shastri, there was a lot of meaning in that one sentence. The ace spinner who missed out the rest of the ODI series against the Proteas due to a side injury was quite a huge reason for India’s drubbing against South Africa. But now that the spin master is back, it did send down some chills in the South African dressing room. Many of the South African batsmen even gave statements to the press that they need to be wary of Ashwin and make sure not lose wickets to him.
Well the thing is, sometimes nightmares do come true as in the ongoing first test Ashwin managed to bamboozle the South African batting lineup big time by picking up 5 wickets on a track that was highly suitable to the spinners. The South Africans must be remembering the Indian Team Director’s words very harshly when he had said not to concentrate only on Ashwin but to concentrate on other Indian spinners as well which came out to be true.
Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra, the two other spinners also cleaned out the rest of the Proteas lineup with combined 5 wickets. Jadeja picked up two, the first one with his second ball of his test comeback, while Amit Mishra got the other 3. The pacers were not much effective for India, both Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron did keep the Africans’ scoring under check but the spinners did the cleanup job at the end of the day.
The match is now hanging at a lovely balance with India having the slight advantage after being bowled out for 201 in the first innings and still managing to restrict South Africa to less than that at 184. Now India is cruising happily at 156 for the loss of 2 during the start of play on Day 3. If India can get a good total on the board, they will surely be fancying their chances here in Punjab at the PCA stadium and surely again they will be relying on the spinners to deliver.
Ashwin is going to be the key here and needs to be well supported by the other bowlers as well and the Proteas need to do something about it to avoid another Ashwin ripping off of their batting lineup led by Hashim Amla. India on the other hand under the young Virat Kohli seem to be in a better state of mind with most of their issues sorted out.