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    Default Boxing Day Test: Ashwin, India's trump card at spin-friendly MCG

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    Having picked up four wickets against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Manuka Oval on Tuesday, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that he has done his homework well and is all set for the upcoming four-match Test series against Australia, starting on December 26.

    The lanky spinner who has opened India’s attack in several ODIs is likely to make the cut in playing XI for the first Test at the spin-friendly Melbourne Cricket Ground. Considering the Aussies’ vulnerability against off-spin, it appears Ashwin may get the nod ahead of Ojha.

    "You have to spin it and rub it on the batsmen. First few days of a Test, I don't expect the ball to turn. It has to be in the air, and later exploit the rough," said Ashwin, who took 4 for 52 to help reduce Chairman's XI to 214 for seven at stumps on day two after Indians were all out for 269 in a three-day warm-up match.

    "For the left-handers you attack the stumps and for the right-hander bowl outside the off-stump," he added.

    Ashwin admitted that he has been speaking to a few umpires and also consulting with his seniors like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman who have had enormous success in these conditions.

    "Later, probably if I could sit down with Shane Warne and chat with him. Meanwhile, I have been speaking to a few umpires and they say it spins on day four and five. But I have to look at the match as a whole, keep spinning and flighting the ball and hoping the batsmen would attack me," he said.

    Ashwin was named the man-of-the-match in his first series against West Indies last month, where he took 22 wickets for 121 runs, and also scored a maiden Test century.

    The lad from Chennai said he was surprised that Chairman XI's batsmen did not attack him enough on the second day of the three-day match.

    "I was very surprised that they were not attacking me. I bowled a few bad balls, I wasn't hit for a six. I am always prepared to be hit for a few sixes anyway."

    Ashwin said that dismissing Alex Doolan (0), who was caught at forward short leg, pleased him a great deal.

    "It didn't have much of spin but it just bounced a bit more. The catch belonged to Ajinkya Rahane...I haven't seen such a good catch for a long time."

    Ashwin also heaped praises on the two centurions of the match - Chairman XI's Ed Cowan and Indians' Virat Kohli.

    "Cowan batted very well. I didn't bowl much to him but I think he used his feet very well.

    "Kohli has been to Australia and he has enjoyed being here. He has done very well for himself in one-day format and even got a couple of fifties in a Test against the West Indies," said Ashwin.
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