Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman heaped praise on off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's excellent performance in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The 46-year-old believes it is the best Ashwin has bowled in overseas conditions.
Despite the visitors losing the toss, the Indian bowlers came out all guns blazing and restricted the Aussies to just 195 in their first innings. Ravichandran Ashwin picked up three wickets in the first innings and also dismissed Steve Smith for a duck. The Aussies could score only 200 in the second innings, and the 34-year-old ended up picking five wickets in the game.
In his column for the Times of India, VVS Laxman explained how Ravichandran Ashwin's brilliant line and length stumped the hosts.
"Ravichandran Ashwin seems to have the measure of Smith at the moment and backed up his performance in Adelaide with another lovely display of off-spin in Melbourne. It's the best I have seen Ashwin bowl overseas, and that's saying something given the peaks he has scaled."
Apart from Ravichandran Ashwin, VVS Laxman was also impressed with the performance of the debutants
After the stinging loss at the Adelaide Oval in the first Test, Team India suffered two more blows as they were going to be without the services of Virat Kohli (paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami (fractured wrist) for the rest of the series.
The visitors made four changes to their playing XI for the second Test and handed debuts to Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj. Gill looked comfortable against the Australian pace battery and scored 80 runs in the two innings. Siraj was impressive, too, picking up five wickets in the Test.
These two youngsters' contributions were crucial in Team India's eight-wicket win at the MCG. Laxman believes this win just shows how strong the visitor's bench strength is, despite the absence of some big-match players.
"I was heartened by the approach as well as the performances of debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj. It also reiterates India's burgeoning bench strength; even without their best batsman and their most experienced pacer on tour, Mohammed Shami, not to mention the absence of Ishant and Rohit Sharma, India didn't appear seriously handicapped," Laxman wrote.
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane's match-winning hundred at the MCG has brought Team India right back in the Test series. With the series level at 1-1, the visitors will look to apply more pressure on the hosts' brittle batting line-up and try to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.Published 31 Dec 2020, 14:37 IST