Ravichandran Ashwin, a name that is feared by all and sundry, especially in the longest format of the game and that too on Indian pitches, has been referred to as an outstanding tweaker of the ball by South Africa middle-order batsman Faf du Plessis ahead of the first Test match in Mohali on Monday.
Du Plessis agreed to the fact that Ashwin will be a prime threat during the upcoming four-match Test series against India. Although Ashwin is yet to be declared fit for the Test series by the Indian medical team, the reports suggest that he is likely to feature right from the first Test.
"Ashwin is our main threat, but we will plan really well. The way we play Ashwin in this series will definitely determine the success in this series. He is an outstanding spinner but I feel we played him well (in T20s). Now, it's a case of Test cricket, but with the conditions he will get a little more turn," Du Plessis was quoted as saying by BCCI.tv.
"We are expecting the ball to spin on day one, you expect it and then you plan for it. In India, I think it is a lot more aggressive now than it used to be in the past where the pitches probably spin on day three, four and five but they start doing that on day one now. So that means the Test matches won't last long. But for us if it lasts only three days, we will have our plans to try and be attacking, to make sure to wait for opportunity and put momentum in our favour."
Ashwin notched up 21 wickets in three Test matches against Sri Lanka earlier this year. Amit Mishra also bagged 15 scalps. It is but obvious that playing Test match in India against the host will be a tough challenge for South Africa. Du Plesssis, who has not played a single Test match in India so far believed that their batsmen have done well in this tour so far and hopefully they will step up to the plate in the upcoming series.
"We are expecting big spin on day one. Obviously playing India in India in Test cricket is probably the hardest challenge. What has helped us is that we have done really well so far this tour. We have played really good cricket. So, we've got lot of confidence, but we understand that Test cricket is still going to be the hardest challenge. We've practiced well, planned well and we are really hungry to play Test cricket," Du Plessis added.
"Before this series I haven't played ODI series as well in India. So all I can do is reflect on batting in India. If you are batting in ODIs, you face similar challenges."