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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

India vs South Africa: R Ashwin 3 wickets away from Muralitharan’s World Record

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin is one the verge of equalling Sri Lankan spin legend Muralitharan’s massive World Record

cricket Updated: Oct 05, 2019 14:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the dismissal of South Africa’s Quinton de Kock on third day of the 1st cricket test match between India and South Africa at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, in Visakhapatnam, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the dismissal of South Africa’s Quinton de Kock on third day of the 1st cricket test match between India and South Africa at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, in Visakhapatnam, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019(PTI)
         

India off-spinner R Ashwin made a stunning comeback to international cricket after a gap of almost 9 months. Ashwin picked up five wickets to keep India’s nose in front despite brilliant counter-attacking centuries from South African left-handers Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock on Day 3 of the first India vs South Africa 1st Test match at Visakhapatnam on Friday. Ashwin’s 27th five-wicket haul also took him at the doorsteps of a massive record. The Indian off-spinner is now just 3 wickets from equalling Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan’s world record of being the fastest to 350 Test wickets.

Ashwin, who has 347 wickets to his name, needs just 3 more wickets to equal Murali’s world record. The Sri Lankan spin wizard is also the all-time highest wicket taker in Test matches with 800 scalps to his credit. Murali had taken 350 wickets in his 66th Test match back in 2001 against Bangladesh. Ashwin too is making his 66th appearance in the purest format of the game.

With 2 of South Africa’s first innings wickets up for grabs and a second innings on a fifth day track still remaining, it is very likely that Ashwin will join Muralitharan’s as the fastest to 350 Test wickets. Ashwin in fact has the chance of beating Murali in terms of balls bowled to get to 350 Test scalps.

Murali had taken 3605.2 overs to take 250 Test wickets. Ashwin, on the other hand has only bowled 3103 overs so far. The Sri Lanka legend however, has the edge over Ashwin in all other aspects of bowling – average, economy and runs conceded.

To put Ashwin’s performance into perspective, he is set to beat Anil Kumble as India’s fastest to 350 Test scalps by 11 Tests. Kumble had taken 77 Tests to reach to that milestone.

It is hard to believe that the 33-year-old, who has been playing only one format for India since July 2017, last played the Adelaide Test from December 6 to 10, the first of the four on the tour of Australia.

To his disappointment, Ashwin did not feature in the playing eleven in the following Test series against the West Indies in August-September when India only played one spinner in Ravindra Jadeja. “To stay away from cricket itself was very tough for me. In order to substitute, I played whatever games I got. I tried and made opportunity for myself to go and play some county cricket (for Nottinghamshire). I tried and played the TNPL as much as I could, played some league cricket in Chennai,” he said.

“It was very important to tick those numbers off because that is essentially where I came from. Going back and playing there is probably the best thing that could have happened,” said Ashwin, who when asked about time away from national duty.