Kingston, July 31 (IANS) On a high here after claiming his 18th five-wicket haul in Tests, India’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has expressed delight on achieving the feat saying that he is happy to accomplish what nobody else had managed till now.
India took firm control of the second Test match against the West Indies by bowling out the hosts for 196 runs in their first innings before reaching 126/1 at the end of the first day’s play here on Saturday.
Ashwin picked up five wickets for 52 runs as India dismissed the West Indies in their first innings before tea.
In reply, opener Lokesh Rahul — who had replaced the injured Murali Vijay — remained not out on 75, while Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on 18 at stumps. India are just 70 runs behind the West Indies’ first innings score.
“Everybody wants to start playing cricket one day to achieve what nobody 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,” Ashwin told reporters after the first day’s play.
“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.
India, which won the first match convincingly, dominated the proceedings very early. Indian seamers utilised the conditions to perfection at the Sabina Park as Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami reduced the hosts to 7/3 before Ashwin struck just at the stroke of lunch to put the West Indies on the backfoot.
Ashwin also praised Rahul, who is heading towards his third Test ton after scoring his first against Australia Down Under and against hosts Sri Lanka last year.
“He (Rahul) has two Test centuries in two countries, and it doesn’t really matter because two Test centuries are huge. And from what I think about Rahul, he’s a fine player. We all know that he’s a quality cricketer. He’s made a lot of runs in first class cricket. And when he has made hundreds for us, it has been crucial knocks.”
“He made one in Sri Lanka, which is very memorable. As a matter of fact, the way he played in the IPL, it’s just an extension. I’ve nicknamed him batting machine. He keeps batting all the time and it’s not a surprise that he’s made runs and I’m very happy for him,” the 29-year-old added.
The Chennai-born was also surprised to see the hosts opting to bat after winning the toss on a sticky wicket.
“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,” he said.
“Maybe I would’ve batted as well. But with their strengths, I thought it was a bit surprising,” Ashwin concluded.