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1st Test: Juggling three top-class spinners is challenging, says Rohit after Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar help India thrash Australia

Nagpur, Feb 11 (IANS) Test skippers all over the world may envy him for having the services of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, especially when playing in India, but captain Rohit Sharma said handling the three spinners is a headache, albeit a pleasant one, and nag him all the time as they want to bowl all the time and are aware of approaching milestones.

Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar starred both with the ball and bat as India handed Australia innings and 132-run defeat in the first Test at the VCA Stadium here on Saturday.

Jadeja claimed 5-47 as Australia were bowled out for 177 in their first innings. He then struck a crucial 70 with the bat and along with Rohit Sharma (120), Axar Patel (84), Shami (37) helped India post 400 runs in their first innings which virtually sealed Australia’s fate. Ashwin, who shared a vital partnership with Rohit, coming in as nightwatchman, then demolished Australia’s second innings with 5-37 as they were bundled out for 91, succumbing to a huge defeat.

The Indian skipper said having three spinners like them was a big advantage but juggling them around while bowling is a huge challenge.

“Yeah, it’s a little tough, honestly, because they are all reaching their milestones. Jaddu was telling me he’s 249 wickets. He’s been telling me all day that Ashwin has four wickets. He’s closer to five wickets. He’s saying I want to bowl. Yeah, so that is a challenge I’m facing at the moment with these guys because I really don’t know too much about the milestones, but these guys are quite aware of it,” Rohit said in the post-match press conference here on Saturday.

“So yeah, that’s the challenge of calming them rather than thinking about which end to give them or not. But again, all three guys are quite quality spinners, I mean, so you know. Whichever end is more helpful, all three spinners want to bowl from that end, that’s obvious. But the pressure is always on me to find the right end for the right one. But yeah, it’s a challenge. But again I try to play a little bit of the match-up game as well, you know, match-ups as in Ash has a good matchup against left-handers,” he added.

Rohit said he was surprised by Australia collapsing in one session like that because the pitch was still good and the Indians were actually getting ready for a hard grind.

“I didn’t expect Australia to collapse like that because I thought the pitch was good. We were prepared to have hard days of, you know, bowling and spending time on the field, session after session. We never thought that you know, they’ll get bowled out in a session because as you saw the pitch became slow and slow. There was not much bounce in the pitch. So yeah, it was a bit of a surprise for me,” Rohit said.

The star opener said his team will not get complacent after winning the Nagpur Test and are rather expecting the Australians to come back hard in the second Test in New Delhi. India had done the same after getting bowled out for 36 in Adelaide last year and fought back to win the series.

“I mean, Australia is always a good team. The good thing about this Indian team is we don’t think about what has happened in the past. It’s important to stay in the present, live the life of the present, and not think too much about what has happened in the past. We know they take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket and they are a good side,” he said.

“By no means, you know, we are ruling them out or anything like that. We want to play the cricket that we played in this game. We want to continue to do that in the next three games that we have. But again, for me as a captain, it’s important to look at what we have. In front of us in Delhi, just focus on that and then move on from there,” said the India captain,” he added.