Hyderabad: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin became the fastest bowler to take 250 Test wickets, achieving the milestone in 45 matches. He surpassed Australian legend Dennis Lillee, who had reached the 250-mark in 48 matches. After finishing 2016 as the highest wicket-taker (72 wickets in 12 Tests), Ashwin will be aiming for a similar result in 2017.
Ashwin's 249th wicket was the all-important one of Shakib Al Hasan in the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad. Shakib played a loose shot and was caught on 82 by Umesh Yadav. His 250th wicket got the visitors all-out at 388 after the Indians had declared their innings at 687-6. Ashwin bowled a flat delivery that Mushfiqur Rahim tried to sweep but got a bit of glove on it. Wriddhiman Saha took a fantastic catch and Rahim was sent back after scoring a resilient and gutsy 127 for his team.
This match is also Ashwin's third Test at The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, where previously he recorded five-wicket hauls in three of the four innings. Before the one-off Test against Bangladesh, Ashwin had 248 wickets in 44 Test matches to his name at an average of 24.96, including 24 five-wicket hauls. His recent performances in the one-day series against England might have been average but his form in the longer format remains match-winning.
The 30-year-old had earlier surpassed the likes of Pakistan legend Waqar Younis and Lillee to be the second quickest to reach 200 Test wickets after picking up a 10-wicket haul against New Zealand in Kanpur last September. Ashwin took 37 Tests to reach the landmark while Waqar and Lillee both took 38 matches to do so. However, the No 1 spot is still held by former Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who claimed his 200th victim in his 36th Test.
The Chennai-born all-rounder has also been clinical with the bat, scoring 612 runs in 14 innings at an average of 43.71 with two hundreds and four half-centuries.
It was his brilliance with both bat and ball against the West Indies and New Zealand that earned him two Man-of-the-Series awards. Also, he has been named as the Man of the Series for seven times, which is the Indian record as batting greats Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have five awards each.
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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2017 11:28:32 IST