Ravichandran Ashwin had contrasting fortunes in the start of his career against two batting legends, both of whom were in the twilight of their international careers when they faced him.
Australia’s all-time highest Test run-scorer Ricky Ponting scored 148 runs from 256 deliveries against Ashwin without being dismissed during the 2011/12 series Down Under.
On the other hand Kumar Sangakkara, who is also the record run scorer for his team Sri Lanka, managed just 23 runs against Ashwin and was dismissed four times by the off-spinner.
“I think I might have played very little against Ricky Ponting. In the Adelaide Test, he was dropped twice, I remember it very clearly. In the Sydney Test, he made some runs, I bowled very less against him in Melbourne. But in Adelaide and Sydney, I bowled longer to him,” the 33-year-old told Pakistan journalist Mazher Arshad in an interview uploaded on YouTube.
“Ricky Ponting is a great batsman, I was a newcomer at the time. I really take pride when someone plays me really well, I try to counter them as period goes on. That’s international cricket. You adapt. When you do well, you learn, when you don’t do well, you learn harder.
“For me, I always thought Ricky Ponting was a fine, fine batsman. I also thought he wanted to go out on a high, he didn’t have any pressure at that point of time when we went to Australia. I was still new into my art, I was still learning my game,” he further said.
“When it came to Sanga, I think I was really lucky because I was in one of the best forms of my life,” Ashwin explained. “Ball was coming out like a dream, I didn’t have to think about anything. My action and rhythm was like poetry in motion. He got some really good balls. I was bowling like a dream to left-handers. When I saw a left-hander, I didn’t see who he was. I liked bowling in Sri Lanka, the pitches don’t spin big but they have enough bounce and speed to carry edges to slip.
“They say right time at the right place. Sangakkara was about to finish his career and I was about to take off (in) my career, I found myself in the right time of my career against Sanga,” he said.