Nagpur: India’s Rohit Sharma said Saturday it was a “blessing” to lead his champion spinners after they spearheaded a crushing innings victory against Australia inside three days.
Spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja combined to dismiss Australia for 91 inside one session of the third day’s play in Nagpur as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Ashwin took five in the second innings and a match haul of eight wickets while the left-handed Jadeja grabbed five on his international return from a knee injury to bowl out Australia for 177 in the first innings.
Jadeja also scored 70 with the bat to be named man of the match.
Axar Patel took just one wicket but hit a match-winning 84 in India’s 400 all out.
“It’s like captaining Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc in Australia,” Rohit said.
“When you have quality of Axar, Jadeja, and Ash, having played in India for so many years, playing on pitches like these, its always a blessing,” he added.
“The conditions are there, yes, but you need to exploit them as well and conditions are for both teams. They know which areas to hit, how to keep applying pressure.”
Off-spinner Ashwin surpassed 450 Test wickets in the first innings and now has 457 in the bag.
Rohit said Jadeja kept pressing him for a bowl in the second session to complete his own landmark of 250 Test wickets.
“They are all reaching their milestones. Jadeja was on 249 wickets and he was telling me, ‘Give me the ball’,” Rohit said with a smile.
“Ashwin was on four wickets and he wanted five and that was the challenge I was facing. I really don’t know too much about milestones but these guys know about it,” he added.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins called Ashwin a “world class bowler”, especially at home, and “one of the all time great Indian bowlers”.
His side will hope to take a leaf out of India’s book when they bounced back from being bowled out for 36 in Adelaide to lose the Test but win the series 2-1 in 2021.
“Australia love playing Test cricket and they take pride in representing the country and so we are quite aware of them bouncing back and what they can do as a team,” Rohit said.
Both teams now head to New Delhi for Friday’s second Test.