R Ashwin raised his game in Perth. He has not had a great tour of Australia, and has struggled to bowl enough good deliveries in a spell. Tonight he bowled six overs in the Powerplays, and three in the last 10. The odd short ball that kept getting punished against Australia was missing. His first over was a maiden, after which the pressure built. A wicket - Kumar Sangakkara's - came, and the level of India's fielding, which was beginning to drop, lifted again.
When he came back into the attack, Ashwin dismissed an out-of-touch Mahela Jayawardene in the first over of the batting Powerplay. The bigger wicket was Dinesh Chandimal, who was well set on 64. With perhaps his best piece of bowling of the tour, Ashwin beat Chandimal in the flight and had him stumped after the ball spun away.
Jayawardene would have loved to have had Ashwin in his side. At least he would not have been left with an all-seam attack. "We felt that the pitch was such that four seamers would probably do the job for us," he said. "Picking up wickets is very crucial against India, and we tried to do that. Ashwin bowled really well, but he is Ashwin." It was the first time in the last month and a half that Ashwin was spoken of with such deference.
As if his bowling performance wasn't enough, Ashwin also showed admirable poise to steer a wobbly chase home. He and Ravindra Jadeja braved the threat of Lasith Malinga to put on 53 unbroken runs to confirm the victory after India seemed to have lost their way with a slew of middle order wickets.