Hyderabad: Cheteshwar Pujara feels that what makes Ravichandran Ashwin such a cerebral bowler is the fact that he "thinks like a batsman" and is expected to play a key role with cracks in the pitch opening up and increase in the turn on offer.
Ashwin, who completed a milestone of fastest 250 Test wickets, bowled much better in the second innings, which Pujara attributed to a different role of a "restrictive bowler" that he essayed in the first innings of Bangladesh.
"Probably, he (Ashwin) is the toughest spinner when it comes to any opposition team. The teams now plan on how they are going to face Ashwin. I would like to congratulate him for reaching 250 wickets. The kind of brain he has, he thinks as a batsman, what are his weaknesses and areas he needs to bowl. I think it’s his experience that makes him one of the strike bowlers in this team," Pujara said after stumps on day four of the one-off Test in Hyderabad.
In the first innings, Ashwin went for nearly 100 runs getting two wickets but Pujara said that he was given a restrictive role.
"He (Ashwin) understands that there are situations where he has to bowl tightly. If you look at first innings, he tried his best. He bowled to a plan. There might be some occasions, he can’t get wickets. But that’s the best part about this Indian team. We bowl as a unit, we bowl in partnerships, most of the times. Ashwin is the one who takes wickets and Jadeja plays the role of a holding batsman. Sometimes Ashwin has to play the role of holding the batsman and he did that in the first innings."
Pujara said that the wicket is now offering turn which they expected from third day onwards.
"I think the ball has started turning now. The wicket is slightly on the slower side but it has opened up and there should be more assistance for spinners tomorrow (Monday). We had expected the ball to turn from day three and it started turning little more from fourth compared to third day. Lot of credit goes to the bowlers. It wasn’t an easy wicket where you can run through the sides. You needed a lot of patience. They (bowlers) had to work hard to get them out."
Pujara expects that the last seven Bangladesh wickets will be taken in next couple of sessions.
"We are hopeful that we will get those seven wickets as early as possible. They batted well in first innings, but it was difficult conditions for our bowlers, I don’t want to criticise our bowlers. We are hopeful we will get seven wickets in next couple of sessions."