Ashwin surpasses Kumble to become fastest Indian to reach 500 Test wickets | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Ravichandran Ashwin surpasses Anil Kumble to become fastest Indian to reach 500 Test wicket

Feb 16, 2024 06:54 PM IST

Ashwin reached the 500 wickets milestone in the third Test against England, becoming the second-fastest to reach there.

It was only apt that Ravichandran Ashwin scaled Mount 500 when the heat was on. When the England batters, true to character, led by Ben Duckett were going on a rampage in their first innings, Ashwin lobbed one up from round-the-wicket to see the end of the other powerful hitter Zak Crawley, beat him in the air sweeping, as Rajat Patidar did the rest.

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Ollie Pope(AFP)
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Ollie Pope(AFP)

As soon as Ashwin completed his 500th Test victim in the post-tea session on Friday, only the second Indian to do so after Anil Kumble, who finished with 619 wickets. His teammates gathered around him, bearhugs were exchanged as head coach Rahul Dravid and the rest of the support staff applauded from the Niranjan Shah stadium dressing room.

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Ashwin appeared more relieved than elated as he reached the cherished milestone but the celebrations were muted. There was a job to be done with the series on the line and India facing a formidable opponent.

Rohit Sharma introduced Ashwin into the attack in the 12th over and it took the wily off-spinner only 7 balls to get the wicket that he would have thought, he would get earlier in the series.

Ashwin became the second fastest man (98 matches) to 500 wickets, only second to Muttiah Muralitharan (87 matches). Ashwin is the giant of a spinner in home conditions as his 351 wickets at an average of 21.26 show. Even away from home, his 149 wickets have come at an average e of 30.40.

“We talk about Ashwin in India, but don’t forget Ashwin outside India is quality. I have always said that Ashwin should have played more outside India,” Kumble reacted, while speaking in commentary. “The amount of wickets Ashwin and Jadeja have produced in India, they should have been the first pick outside India.”

In the early years of his Test career, Ashwin had to wait his time to be a playing XI regular while Harbhajan Singh was India’s premier off-spinner. But all that changed, as Ashwin began getting better at his craft and started to roll opposing teams over at home like Harbhajan did. Ashwin has 34 5-wicket hauls and 8 10-wicket hauls in Test cricket.

Also Read: India vs England Live Score 2nd Test Day 4, IND vs ENG: R Ashwin sends back Joe Root, Ollie Pope amid ENG's aggression

Ashwin went past Chandrasekhar

With the all-important breakthrough, Ashwin also surpassed BS Chandrasekhar to become India's leading wicket-taker against England in Test cricket. Fresh from his wicket No.96 to eclipse Chandrasekhar in the elite list, Ashwin dismissed Joe Root in the previous Test at Visakhapatnam to remain on the cusp of entering the 500-wicket club in the longest format. Rewarded for his spin-bowling masterclass, Ashwin scripted history by getting the better of the England opener to seal his 500th scalp in red-ball cricket.

Did you know?

The 37-year-old is also the second fastest to take 500 wickets in the history of Test cricket. Playing his 98th Test match for Team India, Ashwin is the ninth bowler to achieve 500 dismissals. He was seven Tests quicker than Kumble.

With 800 wickets in 133 games, Sri Lanka's Muralitharan is the all-time highest wicket-taker in Tests.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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