India off-break bowler Ravichandran Ashwin said Monday that spin had put the world champions in a "pretty comfortable" position in their ongoing one-day international series with England. (India regain top spot in ICC ODI rankings)
World champions India lead 2-0 with two to play ahead of Tuesday's fourth ODI at Edgbaston. (Rampant India look to seal ODI series vs hapless England)
Spin bowling, which England have long struggled against in one-day cricket, has been key to India's success in the series so far. (Yuvraj Singh awarded Rajiv Gandhi Excellence award)
Ashwin took three for 39 in India's six-wicket win at Trent Bridge on Saturday, a match where the tourists spinners had a combined return of six for 122 in 30 overs.
"It's pretty comfortable for us," Ashwin told reporters at Edgbaston Monday. (Trying to sort bowling action has helped, says Ravichandran Ashwin)
"It's been one of our strengths, especially in the middle overs, we have always operated in that fashion," he added. (England face uphill task to win World Cup 2015, says Peter Moores)
"There are times when the batsmen get going and we are not able to take wickets. ('England have batted like fools vs India')
"Those are really hard times but if we get a wicket or two and we can put a hold on the batsmen then that's a comfortable domain for us." ('England's mental approach to ODIs needs to change')
It was spin that broke an England opening stand of 82 in Nottingham but India's preceding 133-run saw the breakthrough come from a double strike by paceman Mohammed Shami.
"The ideal situation (for the spinners to come on) is when they (the opposition) are two or three down and that's what happened in Cardiff when Shami bowled that spell," Ashwin explained.
"But if that doesn't happen you have to see how much of a restrictive role you are going to play because the batting team is going to have nine to 10 wickets in the bag."
Earlier, England coach Peter Moores appeared reluctant to play off-spinners James Tredwell and Moeen Ali in the same one-day side.
"Probably two off-spinners in the same team wouldn't normally be your absolute ideal," said Moores.
"But Moeen's not had much opportunity yet. We saw him rapidly develop as a Test match bowler (he took 19 wickets during England's 3-1 Test series win over India) and we want to create opportunities for him at some point."
Moores admitted England would be "unfancied" at next year's World Cup in Australia.
But Ashwin offered England a crumb of comfort by recalling India's build-up to the 2003 edition.
"I remember in 2003, when India toured New Zealand and we had a horrible tour ... and (then) we went all the way to the final."