India's prolific bowler Harbhajan Singh came down heavily on fellow off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for India's 60-run defeat against England in the fourth Test at Southampton. The win gave hosts England an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. Lavishing praise on England spinner Moeen Ali and criticising Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh said the former made good use of the dry conditions suited for spin bowling. Moeen took nine wickets in the Test while Ashwin took only three. "There was so much help available on this wicket for the off-spinners. Just landing the ball at that particular rough patch would have fetched a lot of wickets. That is exactly what Moeen Ali did and got so many wickets," Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan credited the England spinners for bowling well in comparison to their Indian counterparts. "India lost the match where Moeen Ali bowled better than R Ashwin. For the first time, I saw England spinners bowling better than our spinners. Him (Ashwin) not being able to take wickets is the reason why we are 1-3 behind in the series," Harbhajan told India Today.
Ashwin had suffered a groin injury during the third Test at Trent Bridge. However, skipper Virat Kohli said Ashwin had recovered to play the fourth Test. Harbhajan felt Ashwin should have bowled well if he had recovered from his injury.
"I really don't know how serious was Ashwin's injury. If it was serious then the team management should have known it. And if he was really fit then he failed to bowl like it was expected of him.
"Moeen Ali was making a comeback in the England team and won the Man of the Match award. He is a very good bowler though does not rate himself so highly. He will always bowl better than the rest as his trajectory is very good. Indian team has not been able to find any solution to his bowling since 2014 when he performed exceptionally well against us at the same venue," Harbhajan said.
The fifth and final Test between India and England will be played at the Kennington Oval, London beginning on Friday.