NEW DELHI: India’s premier spinner R Ashwin has crossed another landmark in his burgeoning Test career, becoming the fastest to reach 250 wicket...
NEW DELHI: India’s premier spinner R Ashwin has crossed another landmark in his burgeoning Test career, becoming the fastest to reach 250 wickets in the game’s history. With the dismissal of Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim on day four of the one-off Test in Hyderabad, Ashwin reached the 250-mark in his 45th Test, four fewer than Australian legend Dennis Lillee had needed to get there in February 1981.
Ashwin, the top-ranked bowler and allrounder in Test cricket, entered the ongoing Bangladesh match on 248 wickets and moved to 249 with the wicket of Shakib Al Hasan in his 15th over on day three. The wait for No 250 took a while longer and eventually came on day four when Rahim looked to sweep a carrom ball but got a bit of glove and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha took a good catch to end Bangladesh first innings at 388 runs.
With this scalp, Ashwin now stands 17 wickets shy of going past former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi’s tally of 266. When he gets there – and he looks set to do so with four Tests against Australia to follow – Ashwin will become India’s fifth highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.
Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium has proven a successful hunting ground for the 30-year-old. In two prior Test matches played there, he had taken 18 wickets at an average of 10.50 apiece, striking almost every 29 deliveries.
Ashwin’s success comes after a stellar 2016, in which he was the leading Test bowler with 72 wickets and voted the ICC Cricketer of the Year. He dominated each series he played in, and took an astonishing 55 wickets in eight home Tests, which meant that India broke their previous record for longest unbeaten streak. During 2016, Ashwin also overtook Virender Sehwag as the Indian with the most Man-of-the-Series awards, became the second fastest bowler ever to 200 wickets, and the second Indian after Kapil Dev to achieve the distinction of 50 Test wickets and 500 Test runs in a year.