Left-handers win the battle v 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.
|Bowler||In control||Not in control||NIC %|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
|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.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats