Australia have already stretched the overall lead to 326, but unfazed Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that the team’s dressing room atmosphere is positive even though a chase could be tricky on the final day of the third cricket Test at MCG.
Despite the Indian bowlers working hard to improve the visitors’ chances of a win, Australia finished Day 4 on 261 for seven with Shaun March (62 no out) and Ryan Harris (8 not out) still fighting on.
“We exactly don’t know where this match is headed, but we are in very positive frame of mind. You never know, maybe tomorrow morning we can get them out early or they can set a target for us. We are positive and we will take it as it goes and see what happens,” said Ashwin in the post-day presser.
“Any score on the final day is going to be tricky. It’s a Test match and it tests every aspect of your game and attitude. It is going to be tough but we are up for it. We are here to win games and we will be positive and see where we can go,” he added.
The Indian attack improved on their performance from the first innings and did not let Australia run away in their second essay, getting wickets at regular intervals. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Ashwin shared two wickets apiece but the Australian lower-order once again resisted.
“Ishant bowled really well today. He did really well after the first innings wherein he also bowled well. But particularly today, after the rain break, he bowled three spells and he was bang on with all of them.
“We were expecting nicks but they were not easy to come as the carry is not good and we were standing up. The cloud cover aided zip off the wicket today and hopefully it won’t be there tomorrow,” said Ashwin.
“My role didn’t change much. Because the wicket isn’t deteriorating too much, I needed to be a little more imaginative in terms of what I had to do in terms for taking wickets. I was trying to use my imagination, keep one end tight and work within my limits.”
Having been in and out of the Indian side since his Test debut in 2011, Ashwin believes that things are working in the right direction for the 28-year-old all-rounder.
“I have spent a fair time outside the team and it’s been a hard 8-10 months. But I have taken it in my stride as this has been very important in shaping me for the future. I have been talking to bowling coach B Arun, Ravi Shastri and even manager Arshad Ayub and they have been very helpful and very supportive,” said the spinner who has taken five wickets in the match so far.
Meanwhile onfield banter continued between the players of the two sides with Virat Kohli stepping it up against Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson.
“I am not one to talk in the field so I am not too keen on what happened out there. But it has been that kind of a series and everyone has played it hard. No one should take it to heart and what happens on field should end there,” Ashwin signed off.