Ravichandran Ashwin has proved to be England’s nemesis in the first two Tests and, well aware of his abilities now, visiting skipper Joe Root on Tuesday described the India off-spinner as a “world-class performer” in all conditions.
Ashwin has already taken 17 wickets in the series so far and is expected to add some more to his kitty in the third Test beginning here on Wednesday.
“Yeah, he (Ashwin) is a world-class performer. I think it’s been quite tricky for everyone but as you mentioned, in particular, the left-handers is against him… because you know how skilful he is, how good his record is against left-handers in world cricket,” Root said.
The 34-year-old Ashwin has been Virat Kohli’s go-to man in this series. Besides his nine wickets in the first Test and eight in second, Ashwin has also scored a century on a Chepuak track, where most of the specialist batsmen struggled against the turning ball.
“So, he is a fine performer at home and guys just have to keep working hard to try and figure out how they’re going to score every run,” Root added.
The English captain said during his hundred, he observed how Ashwin unsettled left-arm spinner Jack Leach and did not allow him to bowl a particular length.
“I watched how he played Leachy in the previous game, and scoring that hundred, how he used the crease to his advantage, not just coming down the wicket also but getting deep in his crease and trying to make it very hard for Jack to bowl one length there,” he added.
He also lauded young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant for his batting skills but said he gives the opposition chances.
“We know Rishabh is extremely talented but he will give you a chance, and we just got to be ready to take that when it comes,” said Root.
Root was all praise for the refurbished Motera Stadium, calling it a fantastic ground.
“It’s a phenomenal stadium. I’m sure it’s going to see some brilliant cricket over the years. Hopefully, the wicket can produce some very good cricket and the two sides can do that as well. I’m sure the atmosphere within will be electric.
“It was great to see fans back in the previous game and so I’m sure, with the capacity of this ground, that noise will go up again and that’s what you want to be a part of in these big games,” Root said.
This will be the first international match at the refurbished stadium.
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