Ashwin is best off-spinner currently: Harbhajan Singh

NEW DELHI:Having had the experience of bowling at the Adelaide Oval just two years ago and touring Australia four times over the last decade, R Ashwin was on the money from the start during the second day’s play of the first Test as he picked four for 55 to record his best-ever spell not just Down Under but also outside Asia and West Indies, i.e. in nations where the Indian spinners usually find tough to perform.

The Indian offie, bowling slower through the air and relying on bounce, picked the prized wicket of Steve Smith for just one in his very first over as he deceived him with one that did not turn and bounce, catching him on the backfoot and sparking wild celebrations. He then scalped Travis Head and Cameron Green too.

“You know how much he (Smith) bats, his appetite for runs is huge. So in the context of the game, where it was placed, I felt it was important wicket, so I enjoyed and I am really happy,” Ashwin told reporters on Friday while explaining the wild celebrations.

Ashwin had picked three each in the two innings in the Adelaide Test during the last tour in 2018-19 as India scored a close win. That was the only Test he played in Australia during that tour as fitness issues ruled him out for the rest of the series, including one at Sydney where spinner Kuldeep got some help and picked a fifer.

“I pretty much had decent outings every time I have gone on to play in the last 18 months or so and like I said, things can get blown out of context and I have put those things in shelf and it is in the backyard and I have learnt from there. I really want to have all the fun all I possibly can. I don’t want to sit back and think whether that is the best or not. There is an innings to go and I looking at the entire Test series and it is a great opportunity for me to replicate that,” Ashwin added, emphasising that he does not want to bask in the glory yet and want to focus in the forthcoming Tests.

That is understandable considering that India’s last tour of England, in 2018, proved to be one where he began well but then faded.