Should Have Closed Out the Game When We Had the Chance: Ashwin

For India a close loss again at Edgbaston against England might be a gut-wrenching result, but the skipper Virat Kohli and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin are both looking at the positive side of the match.

Cricket news: Ashwin took seven wickets in the game and had a fine match

It was a very close match and India were 84 runs away from rewriting history at Edgbaston on the fourth day to complete victory.

Dinesh Karthik and Virat Kohli were batting on the crease, but fortunes started swinging towards England from the morning as Karthik fell to James Anderson in the last ball of the very first over.

Then Kohli and Mohammed Shami fell to Ben Stokes in a single over. After an excellent 149 in the first innings, Kohli scored 51 in the second innings.

Hardik Pandya was the last man to fall for India as England went 1-0 up ahead in the five-match Test series.

While giving an interview to Test Match Special, skipper Kohli said that if his team played at 85% potential, the series will become very competitive.

“The series is set up nicely now,” Kohli told TMS. “The fact we didn’t play to our potential at all and were still close in the game says everything about us as a side. If we pull ourselves together and even play 80-85% of the cricket we can, then it’s going to be a very exciting and competitive series.”

Ashwin was also heard repeating his captain’s words as he said that India could be proud of many positive things in the match, despite the disappointing result.

“I think this is a game where we would have liked to finish on the winning side. No doubt about it but there are a lot of things we can feel proud of at the end of this game, it’s a long Test series so to feel defeated or pained so early on in the series is unfair and at the moment it is all about the feelings that I am bringing out, and I don’t feel that bad about it as of now because I thought we competed really well and made two comebacks and probably didn’t close out the game when the initiative was on our side. That’s something that can happen when you are traveling so we are upbeat about it,” said Ashwin.

“Like Virat keeps mentioning, when you make runs and pick up wickets, you want to make sure that it is a killer blow and you want to end up on the winning side. It gives you more pleasure out of the game and when it doesn’t happen you feel a little deflated about it. But as I told you before, this game was like a see-saw battle and there was enough in there for the quicks and it was doing quite a bit. So they were always in the game and you do expect batsmen to get a ball that has their name on it. So with that sort of a game hedging on the balance, I thought we competed really well through the game. There are a lot of things to be upbeat about so not completely feeling deflated and in this space I feel like we did well and there is something we can learn going ahead in this series.”

For Ashwin, it was a fine match as he himself took seven wickets in the game and turned in a superlative performance when needed from him.

“For me, it’s all about this mental space I find myself in. I don’t dwell much into the way I have bowled, it is in the past as of now. It is important to try and learn from this game and take it to the next game. These are not conditions that are extremely suitable or tailor made for a spinner so I would like to take confidence out of this game and try and move ahead and build on this.”

Ashwin stressed on the point that his county season with Worcestershire last year has helped him in many ways to adjust to the playing conditions in England.

“Personally there were quite a few learnings from my stint last year here. Not just in terms of pure skill but also how the game is being read here and players go about their business in terms of pacing out their innings and how much the dukes ball does in the first 40 overs. Those are the learnings I had and as a spinner. And how wide my grip can be, and how close I can get to it as the ball moves on. I felt like the ball was slipping also when I came last time for Worcester so that was also in my mind when I came this time.”