India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that the Adelaide Oval pitch for the ongoing day-night Test against Australia is similar to the one used in 2018 which gets better for batting as the match progresses.

Ashwin took 4/55 as Australia were bowled out for 191 in reply to India’s first-innings total of 244 on the second day of the pink ball match. India won the Test in 2018, which was a traditional day one, by 31 runs.

“Going by what happened last time, the wicket becomes better to bat as the Test match goes on,” Ashwin said during a virtual media conference.

“I felt it played best for the batter on the fifth day last time. When we went into the Test match, we felt that we are in a similar sort of situation like last time,” he added.

“...I think we made 250 last time and we were six runs shorter this time, so we knew that we are in the contest.”

In terms of performance, he feels this bowling effort was better than last time. “We thought probably we put up a bowling performance that is a notch better than what we did last time.”

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He also praised pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah for going out as a night-watchman and facing a hostile Australian pace attack under lights.

“Jasprit is an extremely competitive cricketer. He likes to take the battle on ever since he has come into Test cricket. He puts earnest effort into how much he bats at the nets, from being No 11, he scored 50, so it was a no-brainer. Even the little phase he batted, he infused a lot of confidence.”

The spinner was delighted to have dismissed Steve Smith cheaply which could be a big factor in the final context of the match.

“Obviously it’s a big wicket, given his appetite for runs and the amount of time he bats, from that context of the match, it was a big wicket. Really happy.”

Nathan Lyon also looked potent during the Indian innings but Ashwin feels that both are different types of bowlers.

“I think every spinner is different and it can be blown out of context as to how one approaches his trade.

“Nathan and I we both bowled very differently and we are different bowlers and successful in our own ways. For me it’s not about trajectory so much, it’s about trying to have those change ups and making it difficult for the batsmen to score.

“If you are playing four bowlers, my job is to hold one end up and protect the fast bowlers and also go for wickets if I get enough assistance. So it become my job to make life difficult for the batsmen,” he said.

Asked if he felt bowling to Marnus Labuchagne was like bowling to Smith, he replied that there are striking similarities but the youngster can’t be termed an exact carbon copy of the former Australian captain.

“He idolises Steve Smith so he actually does so many things like Smith does. I think there is a difference in how they bat. Not an identical twin copy but it’s natural. In early 2000, everyone wanted to be Sachin Tendulkar. In future, everyone would want to be Virat Kohli.”

With PTI Inputs