A tenacious 71-run stand between Shreyas Iyer and R Ashwin came to India’s rescue as the visitors clawed back from a tricky situation to win the second and final Test by three wickets and win the series 2-0 on Sunday.
Bangladesh were on course for their first ever Test win over India when Iyer (29 not out off 46 balls) and Ashwin (42 not out off 62 balls) stopped them with an unbeaten eighth-wicket partnership.
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Player of the match Ashwin in a conversation with Cheteshwar Pujara on BCCI.tv, spoke about his performance saying, “When I walked out, I thought we had to grind through the situation, I didn’t have much batters behind. Usually when I go at eight, I feel like I have three more batters and I can try and stitch a partnership even if the batter gets out but I thought Shreyas had really good composure. Felt very calm and I just told him that ‘You just get it done, doesn’t matter whether you do it in 10 overs or whether you do it after lunch.’”
“My aim was to initially get through to lunch but a couple of balls went here and there was a catch that went to short leg so I thought maybe I need to push a bit of intent and still have have a good defence. So we batted well and also pushed the accelerator at the right time,” he added.
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His 62-ball stay on the crease was laced with four boundaries and one six. When asked about a change in his batting approach, Ashwin said, “I still like to think I read my defence pretty strongly, even if it even if it can look a little easy a few times. I think Test match cricket is still built around defence for a batter and I’m talking to a man who builds his game around defence.”
He added, “It is very easy to go into a situation when you’re under pressure and modern day cricket tells you just take the aerial route. I don’t think that is the right way to do it. Because two bowlers are bowling there, building some pressure so you can’t do it and get away with it every single time. It does come off and it looks it looks great when it comes off.”
“People want entertainment... all that is fine, but under pressure, you need to play with a very steely defence. But I have definitely played a lot more shots, am a lot more confident of clearing the field with ease, I work a lot of my back lift and work a lot on my base and power hitting. So the confidence is there,” said the all-rounder.
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Ashwin was dropped by Mominul Haque on one at forward short leg before he grew in confidence, with Iyer looking solid against spin at the other end. After his three fours in two overs, Bangladesh were forced to finally bring pacers into the attack but to no avail.
Ashwin took India close with a six after Mehidy changed his bowling end and wrapped up the contest with two more boundaries. Talking about the added confidence in his batting, Ashwin said, “I always had some batting ability in me but I felt along with the power hitting IQ.... I used to keep telling telling this when people asked about my batting in white ball, that I always felt like I got ahead of the situation a little bit.”
He added, “Now I understand a little bit better with respect to batting. It is about just staying in the moment... pick the right moments, pick the right ball.”
Watch the entire interview here.