HYDERABAD, Feb. 12: R Ashwin, on Sunday, became the fastest bowler to get to 250 wickets when he removed Bangladesh batsman Mushfiqur Rahim.
The Indian off-spinner, who’s had a stellar 16 months, achieved the feat in his 45th Test bettering the previous record of 48 by Australian pacer Dennis Lillee. (SCORECARD)
He joins the likes of Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Bishan Bedi as six Indians to reach the 250-wicket landmark.
Ashwin had become the second fastest bowler to reach 200 wickets at Kanpur against New Zealand in September last year behind Australian Clarrie Grimmett, a pre-World War-II bowler. The Indian was in the middle of a phenomenal run that saw him get over a 100 wickets in just over a year.
The effort saw him winning ICC Test Cricketer of the Year as well as ICC Cricketer of the Year awards.
Before this Test had begun, he had spoken about how this surface, with more bounce, will help him.
“This is a very good venue not just because of my happy memories, but also because of the entire facility. It has a lush green outfield and it is a big ground for a spinner. You can toss the ball a little bit more over here. There is a bit of hold and bounce in the wicket, so it gives you allowance to try and be imaginative on this ground. I enjoy bowling here,” Ashwin had said.
He struggled though as there was not much help for the spinners on the first three days as the Bangladeshi batsmen handled him with ease, even stepping out to hit him to the boundary. Shakib did that on Saturday while Mushfiq did that in his first over on Sunday, hammering him for a four over extra cover and six over mid-wicket.
His first wicket on Saturday was more a result of luck.
Rush of blood from the temperamental Shakib got him his 249th. Shakib stepped out and tried to hoist one over mid-on’s head. He failed to clear it and the ball landed in fielder Umesh Yadav’s hands.
Then on Sunday he got rid of Mushfiq for his 250th wicket, having him caught down the leg side by Saha as he attempted a sweep.
Before this game, Ashwin had taken 103 wickets in 17 matches since the 2015 tour by South Africa. While his performance in that series was overshadowed by the controversy over the quality of pitches -- too spinner-friendly, he continued the good work in subsequent series.
He got 27 against New Zealand and 28 against England although 17 wickets in four Tests in West Indies before the start of the home season weren’t considered to be great.(HT)