Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s ace off-spinner, went down memory lane in a recent chat with Harsha Bhogle on CricBuzz, where he revealed how he forged a plan to dismiss David Warner during the 2017 Bengaluru Test against Australia, and how Virat Kohli’s constant support helped him execute it perfectly.
India were handed a shock defeat by 333 runs by Australia in the opening Test of the 4-match series in Pune in early 2017. The hosts had their back on the walls in the following Test in Bengaluru too, after Nathan Lyon’s 8-50 spun their batsmen in a tizzy, ultimately dismissing the team for 189.
Disgruntled and shocked by the defeat in Pune, Ashwin was determined to turn it around in Pune.
“I remember that game. I was in a deep sense of thought as we had lost the first game and I couldn’t fathom the fact that Australia can beat us on our home soil. I was in a deep state of therapy, thinking how am I going to get my team out of this.,” Ravichandran Ashwin recalled.
How Ravichandran Ashwin plotted David Warner’s dismissal amidst full backing by Virat Kohli
Ashwin revealed that he had decided to bowl from over the stumps to the Australian batsmen, especially David Warner in the first innings, with an objective to ‘pause’ the game.
“Virat was playing PlayStation with Saha and I went to his room and said, ‘Virat, I think what’s happening is Nathan Lyon got wickets in the first innings and the wicket was damp so somehow there is this sense of people coming in and saying that Lyon got wickets and hence Ash should get wickets and we’ll roll them over,” Ravichandran Ashwin recounted.
“But I want to be in my own cocoon, where I can take this game forward the way I want. I think I want to go over the wicket to David Warner even if it sounds defensive. We need to put this game on pause mode, literally pause this game without Australia wresting the initiative. And I think both Warner and Renshaw have practised a lot of balls for off-spinners coming from round the stumps. So I want to change this game.’ he added.
“He listened to my idea for a minute, started playing the game and said, ‘Do what you want, I have complete belief in you.’ And the next day I started bowling over the stumps.” Ravi chandran Ashwin said.
The plan worked as David Warner got bowled in the first innings for 33. Ashwin claimed two wickets while Jadeja claimed six to bowl Australia out for 276.
“How David Warner got out in the first innings in Bangalore, where he got bowled – I moved over the stumps and started hitting the rough and he got bowled,” Ashwin said.
Ravichandran Ashwin backed up his two first-innings wickets with six in the second, including that of Warner, to help India draw level the series.
As for Virat’s complete support, Ashwin termed it as- “Streaks of brilliance with a little bit of craziness,”