The veteran off-spinner delivered an impressive spell of 3/82 on day three of the first Test against New Zealand on the slow and low Green Park Stadium track in Kanpur. But it was left-arm spinner Axar Patel who was the pick of the Indian bowlers with figures of 5/62.
“I thought we stuck together really well as a bowling unit. 130-140 overs on that sort of pitch and going less than 2.5 runs per over, it was always going to be hard work and we were prepared for that,” Ashwin told host broadcaster Star Sports before the start of play on Day 4.
The duo’s effort helped India take a 49-run first-innings lead by bowling New Zealand out for 296.
“Everyone played their role perfectly. I felt the new ball was an easier time to bat in terms of scoring runs but we got wickets with the second new ball.
“Sometimes it is easier said than done. I cannot be saying cliched things. I have lived through expectations for a while now. For me cricket is purpose of my life. I am at that stage where I am shutting the outside noise better than I have ever done,” he added.
India began day four at 14/1, leading New Zealand by 63 runs, with Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal on the crease; and Ashwin hoped the batting unit will fire after the bowlers brought India back in the game.
“It was one of the most grinding pitches for both batters and bowlers. I would love to see a couple of my batters score big on this wicket,” said Ashwin.