Ravichandran Ashwin played a key role in India’s win over Bangladesh in the second Test in Dhaka on Sunday, December 25. The visitors were chasing 145 for victory and resumed to their second innings on 45/4. Things got extremely tense for India as they slumped to 74/7 in the first session of play on Day 5.
Jaydev Unadkat was trapped lbw for 13 by Shakib Al Hasan after hitting a six. Mehidy Hasan Miraz then trapped Rishabh Pant leg before for 9 before cleaning up overnight batter Axar Patel for 34 off 69 balls. With India still needing over 70 runs for victory, Bangladesh seemed to be closing in on creating history, having never defeated India in a Test match.
That was not to be, though, as Ashwin (42*) and Shreyas Iyer (29*) added an unbroken 71 for the eighth wicket to take India home to a tense win. Ashwin struck four fours and a six in his innings, opening up after getting his eye in.
Speaking after the match, the off-spinner admitted that it was just his day. He was dropped on 1 by Mominul Haque off Mehidy’s bowling. He also added that he was unaware of the tension in the dressing room as India lost wickets in the chase since he was sitting outside. Ashwin was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz, "I went and sat outside (of the dressing room), so I had no idea (what was happening inside). I am a nervous watcher of others' batting but once I have the ball or bat I always believe I can control things."
The 36-year-old also praised Shreyas for his mature knock. He commented, "It was one of those games where we let the game drift whenever we could have shut it off. Shreyas batted beautifully. Sometimes in these situations you feel like you have to get ahead of things, they bowled good lines and I felt that we didn't trust our defences enough. Loved the way Shreyas batted.”
This is not the first time Ashwin has bailed India out of trouble with the bat. He hit the winning runs off the last ball against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, holding his nerves. He was also part of the blockathon with Hanuma Vihari in the Sydney Test as both of them battled injuries to save the match.
On how pressure brings out the best in him, Ashwin explained, "I don't like to go down without a fight. I have always put myself in tough situations from the age of 8. So I try and fight every single day and I don't like to lose like every member of my team. These are the two occasions where I came out on the right side. So glad.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent