What a comeback it has been for Ravichandran Ashwin! Exactly a month back, the veteran bowler, who has been the highest wicket-taker for India in World Test Championship, was dropped from the WTC final against Australia at The Oval. But he bounced back from the low to put on an authoritative show at Windsor Park in Roseau, Dominica throughout the three days of the opening Test match against West Indies to register a record-scripting 12-wicket haul that helped the visitors maul the hosts to an innings win in just three days.
In the first innings, he picked five wickets for 60 runs, recording his 33rd five-wicket haul which put him past England legend James Anderson and making him the bowler with most fifers in the format among active bowlers. In the second innings, he improved his show to pick seven wickets as India restricted West Indies to just 130 runs. Ashwin now equaled Rangana Herath’s tally of 34 five-wicket hauls in Tests, standing only one behind the legendary Anil Kumble (35) and fifth overall. The twin fifers implied that Ashwin went past Harbhajan Singh for Indian bowler with most such figures in the rivalry and he also stands atop alongside the great Malcolm Marshall.
It was the sixth time in his career that he picked a five-wicket haul in both the innings of the Test match, equalling Sydney Barnes and standing third in the all-time list after Muttiah Muralitharan (11) and Herath (8). Ashwin, however, is the only ever Indian bowler to achieve this feat in a Test in West Indies.
The fifer in the second innings also implied a ten-wicket haul in the Test match, an eighth instance for Ashwin in his illustrious career, that puts him at par with Kumble and joint-fifth overall.
Ashwin also went past late Aussie great Shane Warne in the list of most five-wicket hauls in a winning cause. Ashwin’s 28 such instances now only stands behind Muralitharan’s 41.
Overall, Ashwin finished with a bowling figure of 12 for 131, which is now the best match returns for Ashwin in an away Test, the best by an Indian bowler in a Test in West Indies and best by a spinner ever.
Rohit Sharma in praise of Ashwin-Jadeja
Death, taxes and Ashwin-Jadeja doing it for India singled-handedly on a turning track. The Indian spin combo has picked 17 of the 20 wickets that fell for West Indies in the three days.”The results speak for themselves, they have been doing it for a while. There isn’t much to tell them, it is about giving them the freedom to express. The experience these guys have on pitches like this is always a luxury. Both Ash and Jadeja were superb, specially Ashwin for coming out and bowling this way was class,” Rohit Sharma, India captain, said in the post-match presentation.
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