New Delhi, Nov 9: He could not have asked for a better debut as R Ashwin became only the third cricketer ever to get a Man of the Match in his first Test itself and as he prepares to get married in a few days, the off-spinner wondered if the nine-wicket haul against the West Indies is a wedding gift.
[Scorecard: India Vs West Indies, Nov 2011, Kotla]
Ashwin scalped nine wickets, including six in the second innings, in the opening Test, which India won by five wickets at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. Set to enter wedlock on November 13, Ashwin said he did not expect a debut so good.
"It's a pleasing effort. I expected to get a few wickets but not so many. I don't know if it's gift for me and my wife before the marriage but it is a very happy feeling to go into my wedding with such a performance," Ashwin said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The Chennai bowler said pressure maintained by his fellow spinner Pragyan Ojha from the other end helped him take wickets.
"It helped that Ojha was bowling so many maidens from the other end. The batsmen did not have the fear of being caught at bat-pad, which is not the best thing for spinners.
"The only thing was the variation in bounce, if you were slower through the air, you would be slower off the pitch. So I bowled a bit quicker in the second innings," he said.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the wicket was tough to negotiate especially when India trailed by 95 runs in the first innings and lauded each and every player for contributing in the come-from-behind victory.
"That was a big lead, We all felt we did not bat the way we should in the first innings but it was not like panic. We said we will have to make it up. Ojha bowled well in the first innings, Ashwin has got a few variations and he was supported by the other bowlers.
"We got a good start in both innings, and the middle order did well in the second. It was not an easy wicket to score, you had to be aware of the ball that kept low," Dhoni said.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy drew some positives from the defeat and believed that they can win matches in the remainder of the series.
"When you play against a top team, you want to create the opportunity to win, we did that in the first innings but did not bat well in the second and that cost us. The pitch played much better on the third and fourth days.
"We want improvement, we have to look to create opportunities and hopefully cash in. We believe we can win matches here," Sammy said.
The next match begins in Kolkata on Monday, November 14.