Rohit Sharma's career-defining 177 took India out of crisis at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, but it wouldn't have been possible without the support of R Ashwin, who added 280 runs with Rohit en route his second Test century.
India were 354 for 6 at close of play on day two, 120 ahead of Windies' first innings total of 234 thanks largely to the seventh-wicket stand between Rohit and Ashwin that revived India from a precarious 172 for 6. The two went to add more precious runs on day three to ensure India got a 219-run lead.
Though Rohit stole all the limelight, Ashwin played the perfect foil as the offspinner paced his innings superbly on a track offering offspinner Shane Shillingford enough assistance to take four wickets in the morning session.
Ashwin's batsmanship once again proved he is better than a No. 8, a fact that he established with his first Test ton against the same opposition in Mumbai. The dry Eden Gardens track has started to crumble, and the top order struggled to cope with turn and bounce Shillingford extracted, but Ashwin took pressure off Rohit with a positive approach from the word go.
At one end where Rohit showed temperament of a Test veteran, Ashwin was uninhibited in his strokeplay.
Speaking after the day's play, debutant Rohit was full of praise for Ashwin. "It was a really important partnership in terms of finishing the day where we are today. We lost early wickets, then I had a good partnership with MS (Dhoni). Then I and Ashwin just decided not to think too much about what they're doing. We just wanted to believe whatever we want to do. Every run is important on this wicket. As many runs we can get tomorrow will be good for us."