Some bowlers just love playing against a particular batsman. For Ravichandran Ashwin, that batsman is Australia’s David Warner. His dismissal of the opening batsman on day two of the second Test at Bengaluru was the eighth time he had claimed Warner’s wicket, which is the most times that he has dismissed any batsman in Tests.
The way in which he got the southpaw out would have most pleased the No.1 ranked Test bowler in the world, who didn’t enjoy a great start to bowling in the second Test on day one. But his sublime delivery to Warner got India off to the perfect start on day two and the rest of the bowlers made sure the visitors didn’t get away by lunch.
With a ball that just completely squared up Warner, the off-spinner uprooted the southpaw’s off-stump and got India the breakthrough that they were craving for at the start of the day to stay in the match.
Speaking at the end of day one, KL Rahul said: “The cracks are opening up and it’s only getting harder to bat on this wicket. We know Ash (Ashwin) is a top-class bowler and once he gets a couple of wickets and gets into that rhythm then he is going to run through the Australian batting line-up which we are very confident of.”
And Ashwin certainly made brought his words ringing true early on day two as he went around the wicket and pitched the ball outside leg stump before luring Warner into the trap and having him bowled.
After not finding the right length on day one, when he was too full, Ashwin began with a clear strategy to get rid of Warner. Not only was his length a lot shorter than on day one but he also went around the wicket and kept on pitching the balls outside leg stump.
Although he took the lbw out of the equation with his tactics, he made sure that the batsman had an element of doubt before every ball, as the surface offered plenty of turn and bounce for the off-spinner.
After playing and missing at quite a few, Warner simply lost his bearings and got out to Ashwin for the eighth time, which is the most he has fallen to any bowler. And the plan of beating Warner and tempting him to play and leave worked as Ashwin had the last laugh.
The wicket set the tone for the opening session on day as India restricted the run flow and even managed to pick up the crucial wicket of Steve Smith just before lunch. With the visitors still trailing by more than 100 runs, India will be looking to Ashwin for more magic on day two.