Ravichandran Ashwin's legacy grows as he rockets past Anil Kumble's record, stands toe-to-toe with James Anderson
Ravichandran Ashwin secured the 32nd five-wicket haul of his Test career - his second of the series against Australia in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023.
The legend of Ravichandran Ashwin continues to grow. India's premier spinner brought his team back into the contest on Day 2 of the fourth Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia on Friday. With India going wicketless for 60 overs and frustration beginning to creep in, Ashwin staged a stunning comeback, picking up a five-wicket-haul. Ashwin's three-wicket-burst that saw him dismiss Cameron Green, Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc in a span of five overs reduced Australia to 409/7 at tea and upon returning, the off-spinner sent back Todd Murphy to bag his 32nd five-for in Tests.
With this, Ashwin, the world's No. 1-ranked bowler, added a couple more feathers to his cap. For surpassed the legendary Anil Kumble's record for the most five-wicket-hauls by an India bowler at home (25) – this being his 26th. Ashwin did it while playing his 55th Test at home (92nd overall), eight quicker than Kumble, who did it in his 63rd Test on Indian soil. Ashwin triggered India's comeback in the 131st over of the innings. He ended Green and Khawaja's 208-run partnership with a delivery that wasn't his proudest. Green tried to sweep a delivery down leg side but all he managed was a touch of the glove as the ball landed in KS Bharat's gloves for a sharp reaction catch.
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Three balls later, Alex Carey gave Ashwin his third wicket as he skied the ball to Axar Patel for a straightforward catch. Ashwin was then made to change ends, and after five overs, he picked up his fourth getting Mitchell Starc out bat pad. However, it is then that the ninth-wicket partnership between Murphy and Nathan Lyon added 70 runs before Ashwin struck with the third new ball to have him out LBW for 41. Ashwin then returned to wipe out Australia's innings as he picked up his sixth, dismissing Nathan Lyon out caught by Virat Kohli in slip. This is Ashwin's second five-wicket-haul of the series after his figures of 5/37 gave India an innings win over Australia in the first Test at Nagpur.
The uniqueness of Ashwin's five-for doesn't just end there. He now holds the record for the second-highest five-wicket hauls at home behind Muttiah Muralitharan, who has achieved this feat 45 times. Ashwin is tied with another Sri Lanka spin great Rangana Herath, who too picked up five wickets in an innings on 26 times at home. Also, Ashwin's 6/91 also brings his level pecking with England legend James Anderson as the two players with 32-five-wicket-hauls in Tests – the joint sixth-highest. Besides, Ashwin also became the leading Indian wicket-taker against Australia in Tests, also going past Kumble and is currently stands as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy along with Nathan Lyon with 113 wickets.
Australia were bowled out for a strong first innings total of 480 - the highest of the series. Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green were the two centurions of the innings. Khawaja peeled off the 14th hundred of his Test career but missed his 200 by 20 runs, whereas Green registered his maiden Test ton. Besides Ashwin, Shami grabbed two wickets, and Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel snared one each.