India off-spinner Ashwin Ravichandran is having a fine Test series in Australia, having picked up five wickets in the first match in Adelaide (which included a four-for) and four wickets so far in the second match in Melbourne.
Ashwin has taken a number of key wickets in the ongoing Test series Down Under, with the dangerous Marnus Labuschagne being his latest victim on Monday. The off-spinner came from round the wicket and bowled a wonderful delivery that skid straight on and got the edge of the right-hander’s bat.
Speaking with broadcasters Sony Ten at the end of day three of the second Test, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar analysed Ashwin’s bowling and the changes made by the 34-year-old to get success on Australian pitches.
“I think the pitches so far in the series have helped the spinners get that little bit of turn,” said Gavaskar.
“Ashwin has bowled slower in this series than he did in the past in Australia. His speed was about 90 kmph earlier but now it’s around 85 kmph, he’s giving the ball a little bit of air. His line has changed as well.
“Earlier he would bowl leg and middle whereas now he’s bowling off and middle, which helps the ball turn into the right-handers and also go straight. He got Steve Smith with the straighter one in Adelaide and Marnus Labuschagne today. Both wonderful deliveries to get two top batsmen out.”
Gavaskar also praised Ashwin for his smart thinking in Melbourne on Monday after he changed his line to induce the edge off Labuschagne’s bat.
“He went round the wicket because he realised there was a bit of breeze and he wanted to make use of it,” said Gavaskar. “You could see with the ball that got Labuschagne – it was tossed a bit and was also slower in the air, which helped it zip through to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.”