India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said he was surprised with West Indies’ decision to bat first on a sticky wicket, even as he returned with a five-wicket haul on the opening day to dismiss the hosts for a paltry 196 in the second Test.
After Ashwin’s 5-52, opener Lokesh Rahul cracked an unbeaten 75 to guide India to 126/1, within 70 runs of West Indies’ first innings score.
“I was pretty surprised that they won the toss and batted first today. Like Virat Kohli mentioned at the toss, there was a bit in it, it was a bit sticky,” said Ashwin after the opening day’s play.
“Maybe I would’ve batted as well. But with their strengths, I thought it was a bit surprising. They lost three wickets in front quickly,” he added.
The Indian pacers reduced the hosts to 7/3, but Marlon Samuels and Jermain Blackwood strung together a counter-attacking partnership.
Ashwin broke through that partnership before lunch and then proceeded to take his 18th five-wicket haul in 34 Tests.
“I was really taken aback by the counter attack that Blackwood did. It sort of put the game in the balance. And we had to break twice and bring the game back. It’s clearly a game where the experienced side is seizing the more opportune moments. With a little bit of experience and nailing the right moments, the game could get closer,” he said.
“Everybody wants to start playing cricket one day to achieve what no body else could achieve. I am happy to be there, at some stage of my career where I am better than everybody else who has played the game.
“It feels nice, but the only thing that is constant is trying to improve from wherever you are. I think change is very important. This is good, but tomorrow is a different day and you have to keep improving,” he added.