Watch: Ashwin convinces Rohit to try strange field setting, tempts reverse-sweep, pins Carey lbw
Watch: R Ashwin was at his astute best as he outwitted Alex Carey and completed his five-wicket haul in the 1st Test against Australia at Nagpur.
Carey thrives on the sweep and the reverse sweep while playing in the Indian subcontinent, which was on display even in the first innings. Even in the second, he deployed the sweep off the first ball he faced, bagging himself a boundary. When he did the same off the second ball, Ashwin reevaluated his plans.
In the next over, Ashwin set an unusual field. He had a sweeper straight, right behind the umpire, and no one else down the ground. Rohit Sharma stood at deep gully; Ravindra Jadeja at short fine leg; there was a fielder on the deep backward point fence; and there was a slip cordon.
All that perhaps indicated that Ashwin had planned extensively for Carey playing either the sweep or the reverse sweep. Had he wanted, Carey could have pushed the ball down the ground and fetched himself an easy run. However, he decided to back his trusted reverse sweep, presumably because it would have allowed him a better chance to impose himself. He fell into the trap.
The ball that got him out pitched on a length on off stump and did not spin significantly. However, since Carey had premeditated the reverse sweep, he could not pull out of the stroke. He ended up missing the ball altogether and was pinned in front of the stumps, with the umpire having no hesitation in raising his finger.
This dismissal, apart from hammering another nail in the Australian coffin, was an illustration of how Ashwin tries to stay a step ahead of the batters. Having seen Carey use the sweep and the reverse sweep extensively, especially in the first innings, he hatched a plan and ultimately outfoxed him.
Interestingly, Rohit was initially not convinced about the plan at the start of the over. He had been gesturing and asking Ashwin repeatedly whether that was the precise field he wanted. Ashwin, however, stuck to his guns and was vindicated, much to his captain and tean’s delight.