Ashwin expects further Indian improvement
Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin admits his side are still short of their best as they seek to avoid a cricket one-day series defeat.
The tourists stopped New Zealand from clinching the series with a tied encounter in Auckland on Saturday but still need to win the remaining two matches to share the spoils.
Ashwin said in Hamilton today, ahead of the fourth ODI at Seddon Park tomorrow, that India were fighting to find form.
"We've just not been at the best of our game," Ashwin said.
"That's the best point we can take forward, in terms of saying, we've not really played our best game yet.
"The standards that we've set for ourselves have been quite high, in terms of what we've achieved over the last year or so."
Late hitting from Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja almost got the tourists home at Eden Park, in a tied match that left both teams frustrated.
"We were quite disappointed that we didn't shut the game down," Ashwin said.
"We would have loved to win the series, but we kept it open and we can tie it down now."
The 27-year-old said India were working hard to reverse their fortunes.
"Even in Hamilton [in the game-two loss], we were struggling, we were up against it. The Duckworth-Lewis [rain adjustment system] didn't quite help ... but we still managed to pull off a game that was quite close.
"We've been fighting hard to the end and while things haven't gone our way we just hope for the turnaround."
Ashwin, who made 65 off 46 balls in Auckland while taking an impressive 1-46 from his 10 overs of off-spin, expects better conditions for bowlers and batsmen than in the first game in Hamilton.
"There was a bit of rain around here when we were playing, so the ball was sticking on to the wicket a little bit more than other places," he said.
"Auckland's been the best batting wicket alongside Napier. Hamilton was a bit slow, but we don't expect it to be slow this time."
More than 1700 runs have been scored in the three matches between the two sides to date, despite the first match in Hamilton being reduced by rain to 42 overs per side.
Ashwin said the tourists had certainly found the boundaries at New Zealand grounds shorter than what they're used to - which meant even the former domestic opening batsman was working on developing his power game.
"I have been working pretty hard on it - it is not something that came naturally to me," Ashwin said.
"As more of a batsman at the top of the order, I used to take my time, used to accumulate runs, play shots along the ground.
"But definitely over the last year or so I've put in a lot of effort and I've made a few technical changes when I'm looking to hit, and it's coming out really well."
- Fairfax Media
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