Ashwin’s antics anger James Anderson, England great complains to umpire on Day 2 | Cricket

Ravichandran Ashwin is a master of mind games. It is one aspect of his game that often slips under the radar but plays a crucial role in his preparation and development as an all-rounder. He is what you would describe as a ‘thinking cricketer’. And when matched by an equally good exponent of the same in the opposition side, like it was on Day 2 of the second India vs England Test, it becomes a visual experience for those watching.

James Anderson complains to the umpire about Ashwin
James Anderson complains to the umpire about Ashwin

Ashwin was a bit rattled right at the end of Day 1. He was seen having an animated chat with umpire Marais Erasmus when stumps was called in Visakhapatnam on Friday. It seemed like he was upset about something said or done by an English fielder in the last over of the day’s play. Whether that had anything to do with his actions on Day 2 cannot be said with certainty but Ashwin was, in Dinesh Karthik’s words “playing his tricks”.

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And he chose James Anderson for those tricks. Don’t these two have a history? Sure they do because of their ‘slight’ difference of opinion related to run-out at the non-striker’s end. Anderson had merely (stress on this word, please) shredded Ashwin’s photo on camera in 2019 after the Indian cricketer had run out the England legend’s teammate, Jos Butler in an IPL match. A year later, Ashwin had taken a dig at Anderson with a reference to the same when the latter had shared his displeasure at a run-out at the non-striker’s end in a U19 World Cup match in 2020.

Scores settled, right? Wrong. Add the Visakhapatnam chapter in the Ashwin vs Anderson duel. So what exactly happened?

In the second over of Day 2, Anderson’s first, the 41-year-old was miffed about the way Ashwin was standing at the non-striker’s end. When Anderson was running in to bowl, Ashwin, at the non-striker’s end, was seen stretching his arms. This put Anderson off. He had to pull out from his run-up. Did Ashwin do that deliberately? We would never know. But it definitely upset Anderson.

He was seen complaining to the umpire about the position and mannerisms of Ashwin, probably trying to convey that the India all-rounder was standing too close to the stumps.

Ravichandran Ashwin ‘up to his tricks’ on Day 2 of India vs England Test, miffed James Anderson complaints to umpire

Anderson, however, had the last laugh a few overs later. After being clipped for a four by Ashwin in the second ball of the 101st over, Anderso produced an unplayable delivery to find the outside edge of Ashwin’s bat. It was a wobble seam delivery that left Ashwin instead of coming back in and got the faintest of nicks to carry safely to the keeper. Anderson’s celebration did not give away much but he would know he is one-up in the rivalry.

After Ashwin was dismissed for 20 off 30 balls, there wasn’t much resistance from the lower order. Yashasvi Jaiswal’s marathon innings came to an end when tried to hit Anderson out of the park but ended up getting holed out in deep cover. He made 209.

The final two Indian wickets could only add 13 more runs as England bowled them out for 396.

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