Ashwin lauds brilliant Kohli


Ravichandran Ashwin was taken aback by the brilliance of team-mate Virat Kohli, who hit a maiden Test double century as India gained control of the opening match against West Indies.

Ashwin posted a century himself but captain Kohli stole the show, continuing his stellar form with a masterful 200 before India declared on 566-8 on day two of the first Test in Antigua on Friday, with the Windies 31-1 at stumps.

Kohli's performance saw him become the first Indian to score a double century outside Asia in a decade, eventually dismissed by Shannon Gabriel (2-65) at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

"I heard the West Indies coach talking about how good a batting wicket this is," Aswhin said. "But there are certain shots that cannot be played on this wicket.

"It's not a wicket where you walk in put your feet 'plonk' and just hit it. There is good bounce in the wicket. And there are areas where the ball is coming at different paces as well.

"When I walked in started batting I felt like Virat was hitting a few shots that were almost impossible for me to connect. And that is the sheer brilliance of how Virat has been batting over the last year or so. He's just playing a few shots which makes the bowling look ridiculous. I should say those shots are out of ordinary shots."

All-rounder Ashwin excelled higher up the order, batting at number six ahead of regular Wriddhiman Saha.

Ashwin survived a dropped catch on 43 as he posted 113 for this third Test century at North Sound.

"I've always wanted to bat in the top seven for the Indian team," Ashwin said. "[It] is a long-time goal that I have to try to strive to get better at. I need to thank Anil bhai and Virat [Kohli] for having the confidence in me to be pushed at No. six. There have been times in the past when I've played really well and haven't really got the promotion.

"This really says a whole lot of things about me. Virat called me in the morning and said 'you'll be batting at six, ahead of Saha', which is a big boost to my batting confidence. I had worked on it over the past one month in Chennai with my coach and I'm very, very happy with the way it's come out.

"I've never left so many balls. Ajinkya told before the Test match about batting 200 balls, my aim was to bat 150 balls and try and see where I get. In between, I played an over from Gabriel which was a bit loose, and Virat came up to me and said that is what you need to avoid in Test cricket to be more successful.

"I really thought I left really well and knew where my off-stump was. It was about batting time more than runs for me this time."