India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bengaluru, 2nd day March 5, 2017

Left-handers win the battle v Ashwin

R Ashwin has a Test average of less than 20 against left-handers, and dismisses them once every 45 balls, but in Australia's first innings he bowled 221 balls at them and returned figures of 1 for 62

Play 01:18
Chappell: Lyon's overspin got him more bounce than Ashwin

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Australia's dominance on the first two days in Bengaluru has been the manner in which their offspinner has trumped India's. Bowling on a first-day pitch, Nathan Lyon extracted plenty of bounce and turn, bowled a superb line outside off stump, and troubled all the Indian batsmen. R Ashwin, with all of 68 wickets in ten home Tests this season before this game, was frugal and often tested the batsmen, especially in the morning session, but ultimately had disappointing returns of 1 for 75 from 41 overs on a pitch offering turn and uneven bounce.

The control factors for the two bowlers illustrates Lyon's extra potency on this surface. On a first-day pitch, batsmen played false strokes against him 22% of the time (30 out of 104 balls), while against Ashwin, the corresponding percentage was only 12.19.

Control factors against Lyon and Ashwin in Bengaluru
Bowler In control Not in control NIC %
 Nathan Lyon  104  30  22.39
 R Ashwin  216  30  12.20
NIC % is the percentage of deliveries to which the batsmen played false shots (edged, beaten or mistimed)

Against an Indian top order made up entirely of right-handers (Abhinav Mukund fell too early to play spin), Lyon settled into an excellent line, length and rhythm. Most of his deliveries were bowled from over the wicket - only five were bowled from round the stumps - and he worked a superb, tight cluster on the pitch map, giving the batsmen few opportunities to drive or cut. The overspin, on a pitch responsive to bounce, made him all the more lethal.

Nathan Lyon's pitch map to right-handers on the first day in Bengaluru © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Ashwin is usually lethal against left-handers - he averages 19.26 against them compared to 32.20 against right-handers over his Test career - but in this innings, Australia's left-handers performed admirably against him: they collectively played out 221 of the 246 balls he has bowled so far, and gave away only one wicket (Ashwin's overall strike rate against left-handers is 45, which means, on average, he dismisses them about five times when he bowls 221 balls at them). The left-handers also managed an excellent control factor of 87.78% against him.

Ashwin v right- and left-handers in Aus 1st innings
Batsman type Runs Balls Wickets NIC%
 Left-handers  62  221  1  12.22
 Right-handers  13  25  0  12.00

Among the four left-handers who faced more than 15 balls each from Ashwin on Sunday, the stats for Matt Renshaw stand out: he faced 94 balls from Ashwin, and achieved a superb control factor of 91.49%. In fact, all these four left-handers achieved control factors of more than 80% each, which is extremely impressive given the sort of surface Ashwin was bowling on. It illustrates Australia's preparation to play in these conditions, and their ability to stick to their plans.

Left-handers v Ashwin
Batsman Runs Balls Control %
 Matthew Wade  5  18  94.44
 Matt Renshaw  20  94  91.49
 David Warner  8  26  84.62
 Shaun Marsh  29  77  81.82

Ashwin has so far bowled five spells in Australia's first innings, including a spell which started an over before lunch and continued deep into the afternoon session, a passage when he bowled 18 overs at a stretch. His most effective spell was the first one of the day, when he conceded less than a run per over and took the wicket of Warner.

Ashwin's spells in Australia's 1st inngs
Inngs overs span Overs Runs Wkts NIC%
 5.1 to 16  6  11  0  16.67
 17.1 to 36  10  8  1  11.67
 43.1 to 78  18  42  0  12.04
 87.1 to 96  5  13  0  13.33
 103.1 to 106  2  1  0  8.33

Lyon had bowled over the wicket through most of his spell, and got plenty of turn and bounce from outside the right-handers' off stump. Ashwin tried that tactic, too, on Sunday after bowling from round the stumps on the first day, and while he forced a higher not-in-control percentage, the left-handers - Renshaw particularly - were still able to kick away the balls pitching outside leg. When bowling from his preferred round-the-stumps angle to left-handers, he was unable to extract the same turn and bounce.

Ashwin v left-handers, over and round the stumps
Over/ Round the stumps Balls Runs Wkts NIC%
 Over the wicket  102  27  1  13.73
 Round the wicket  119  35  0  10.92

Ravindra Jadeja, who was strangely underbowled, ended with the most wickets but troubled the batsmen the least. In fact, the two Indian bowlers who forced the highest not-in-control factor were the two seamers, who bowled their hearts out for very little reward. That is an indicator of how the day went for India, and also how well Australia's top order combated the world's No. 1 bowler.

Indian bowlers in Australia's 1st innings
Bowler Overs Runs Wkts NIC %
 Ishant Sharma  23  39  1  18.84
 Umesh Yadav  24  57  1  18.06
 R Ashwin  41  75  1  12.19
 Ravindra Jadeja  17  49  3  8.82

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

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