"They showed how you have to play in these kinds of conditions" - Pragyan Ojha praises Virat Kohli and Ravi Ashwin displays in Chennai

Virat Kohli and R Ashwin celebrate a wicket against England (Credits: The Quint)
Virat Kohli and R Ashwin celebrate a wicket against England (Credits: The Quint)
Anurag Bansal
Modified 16 Feb 2021

Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha has praised India captain Virat Kohli and Ravi Ashwin. Pragyan Ojha claims they showed the cricketing world that it's crucial to adjust to varying conditions, and runs can be scored in conditions like those in the 2nd Test against England in Chennai.

Pragyan Ojha, in an interview with Sports Today, said he wasn't shocked to see criticism of the Chennai wicket. However, Pragyan Ojha praised the Indian batting unit and said they proved how it is just about the survival of the fittest when it comes to Test cricket.

"They showed how you have to play in these kinds of conditions. They were showing what kind of control they had over their mind."

Eyebrows were raised on the Chennai wicket after England's entire XI were sent back to the pavilion for just 134 runs in response to India's 329. Some experts even compared the Chennai surface to a beach, and called the conditions unacceptable for Test cricket.

Pragyan Ojha credits Kohli and Ashwin for resurrecting India

Team India decided not to impose a follow-on upon England, and were reduced to 106 for 6 in their second innings.

Captain Virat Kohli and R Ashwin, however, scripted a strong fightback with a 96-run partnership. Both senior players faced spin with ease as they put up a wonderful display of footwork in extreme batting conditions.

Pragyan Ojha continued:

"With the bat also, Ashwin showed it. He said 'Boss, if you apply yourself, if you put your mind and heart into it, you will also get the hundred in the same game.'"

While Moeen Ali managed to pick Virat Kohli's wicket for 62, Ashwin kept going strong and eventually reached the three-figure mark for the fifth time in his Test career.

Criticism of Chennai pitch was not surprising: Ojha

Former England cricketers took to social media to slam the pitch after the visitors were bundled out cheaply on Day 2. Pragyan Ojha, however, opined that the beauty of Test cricket lies in adapting to difficult conditions, and credited the Indian batsmen.

"It's not surprising, they were a few people making comments. They get more traction when they comment because Indian cricket is followed vastly. Test cricket, you have to play on every surface. On a green surface, you find your own technique, apply and then score runs."

By the end of play on Day 3, England were at 53 for the loss of 3 crucial wickets - chasing a steep total of 482 to win the second Test. Spin wizards Ashwin and Axar Patel were amongst the wickets, picking up one and two scalps respectively.

Going into Day 4, Team India will look to wrap things up quickly and level the series 1-1 to stay in contention for the final spot of the World Test Championship Final at Lord's.

Published 16 Feb 2021
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