Road to 400: Ravichandran Ashwin and his milestone wickets

Ravichandran Ashwin

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India’s win in the Ahmedabad pink-ball Test was sweeter due to Ravichandran Ashwin’s spectacular feat. He became the fourth Indian, sixth spinner and 16th cricketer overall to enter the 400-wicket club in Test cricket.

Ashwin reached the 400 test wickets mark in his 77th Test, making him the second-fastest in the sport’s history. Muttiah Muralitharan had breached the mark in his 72nd Test. Only Dale Steyn, Richard Hadlee and Glenn McGrath reached the mark in fewer deliveries in terms of balls bowled than Ashwin.

A wily off-spinner and a handy all-rounder, Ashwin made his test debut against the West Indies in the Delhi Test of the 2011-12 series. Over the next nine-and-half years, he has played 77 Tests and claimed 401 wickets at a strike rate of 24.95.

Alongside 29 five-wicket hauls, Ashwin has five centuries to his name, making him one of India’s greatest Test cricketers.

1st wicket: Darren Bravo (WI)

Test no. 1 | Venue: Delhi | Season: 2011-12

Dismissal: Bowled

Ashwin has been a nightmare for left-handers. During the second Chennai Test, he became the first bowler to claim 200 Test crickets. He has dismissed Ben Stokes 11 times and David Warner 10 times. The journey began with West Indian southpaw Darren Bravo.

Bowling around the wicket, Ashwin got the bowl to straighten down the line. Darren Bravo chose the wrong ball to cut and found his stumps in a mess.

50th wicket: Nick Compton (ENG)

Test no. 9 | Venue: Ahmedabad | Season: 2012-13

Dismissal: Bowled

As a spinner, Ashwin has the rare talent to dominate while opening the bowling. He has 60 wickets while opening the bowling at 21.67.

A year into Test cricket, Ashwin would strike early against England during their historic tour in 2012-13. In what was a classical off-spinner’s delivery, Ashwin found the gap between opener Compton’s bat and pad to rattle the stumps.

100th wicket: Daren Sammy (WI)

Test no. 18 | Venue: Mumbai | Season: 2013-14

Dismissal: Caught

Ashwin entered the 100-wicket club in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test. Ashwin got his third wicket in the innings when the West Indian captain, Darren Sammy, miscued a slog to give a straight forward catch to Rohit Sharma.

Ashwin became the fifth-fastest to the 100-wicket mark. He took only 18 Tests to take 100 wickets – the fastest bowler to the landmark since Clarrie Grimmett in 1931. Pakistan’s Yasir Shah would better Ashwin’s feat, reaching the milestone in one fewer Test.

200th wicket: Kane Williamson (NZ)

Test no. 37 | Venue: Kanpur | Season: 2016-17

Dismissal: LBW

This was another milestone Test. India were playing their 500th Test. Ashwin brought up the feat in the second innings of the Test by trapping New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson leg before.

Ashwin deceived Williamson with a quicker ball that caught him on the back foot while attempting to flick. The deviation off the surface was too quick for the batsman.

Ashwin became the second-fastest after Clarrie Grimmett to the 200-wicket mark. Later, Yasir Shah would top the list, achieving the number in only 33 Tests.

300th wicket: Lahiru Gamage (SL)

Test no. 54 | Venue: Nagpur | Season: 2017-18

Dismissal: Bowled

Ashwin finished off the Test by cleaning up No.11 Lahiru Gamage with a carrom ball. In doing so, he became the quickest bowler to the 300-wicket mark in Test cricket.

400th wicket: Jofra Archer (ENG)

Test no. 77 | Venue: Ahmedabad | Season: 2020-21

Dismissal: LBW

In a Test that finished off inside two days, Ashwin brought up the 400 wickets landmark with the pink ball. Trying a slog sweep with bare minimum footwork, Archer missed the ball to find his pad. England made a desperate call for a review, only to lose it.

Ashwin follows Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh as the fourth Indian bowler to grab 400 test wickets, and is the fastest among them to the landmark.

No one expect Ashwin in the list has a century in the said period. Ashwin has five.

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