R Ashwin roars back to form, levels Anil Kumble with 35th Test five-wicket haul | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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R Ashwin levels with Anil Kumble with 35th Test five-wicket haul, puts India ahead against England on Day 3

Feb 25, 2024 10:32 PM IST

Ravichandran Ashwin's legend grows as he picks up the 35th five-wicket haul of his Test career and equals Anil Kumble with the most five-fors by an Indian.

Ravichandran Ashwin gave India the perfect start in the third innings of the Ranchi Test against England when he dismissed Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope off consecutive ball on Day 3. England picked up a 46-run first-innings lead after Shoaib Bashir's maiden five-for dismissed India for 307, but Ashwin cracked open the door with back-to-back wickets to reduce England to 24/2 and then picking up three more to complete his 35th five-wicket-haul in Tests.

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of England's Ollie Pope. (AP)
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of England's Ollie Pope. (AP)

Duckett was out caught at short leg, while Pope was trapped LBW and with it, Ashwin surpassed Anil Kumble to become the fastest bowler to take 350 Indian Test wickets on home soil and levelled him with the most five-fors by an Indian bowler. This is Ashwin's 59th Test in India, which means he reached the milestone of 350 and more on home soil four matches quicker than Kumble. Ashwin had also tied with Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan to become the joint-fastest to 350 overall wickets.

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Also Read: India vs England Live Score 4th Test, Day 3

Ashwin, who had been struggling to pick wickets in the series – his best figures have been 3/72 in the second innings of the Visakhapatnam Test – the veteran India off-spinner was thrown the ball as India came to bowl. With Bashir finishing with 5/119 and Tom Hartley grabbing three, a surface on which the ball has started to keep low, making Ashwin open the bowling alongside Ravindra Jadeja was a no-brainer.

England go 3 down

Two became three when Ashwin struck for a third time, this time getting the big wicket of Joe Root. The former England captain, who was the lone man standing for England in the first innings with a 31st Test century, was out LBW cheaply and although the umpire initially declared it not out, India got the three reds they desired.

Ashwin was criticised for being ineffective in the first innings – which saw him pick up 1/83 – when his counterpart, the young Bashir emerged the star on Day 2, running through the Indian top order. His four-wicket burst had reduced India to 177/7, and the road ahead looked tough for the hosts before Dhruv Jurel scored a career-best 90 to reduce India's first innings deficit to 46 runs.

Another five-for completed

After Ashwin was given a breather, Kuldeep Yadav came into the spotlight, as he wrecked the England middle order with 4/22. But as Ben Foakes and Bashir frustrated India with a painstaking partnership for the 9th wicket, Rohit turned to his biggest match-winner. Ashwin took a couple of overs to settle down but once he got a look, he struck immediately. Ashwin got Foakes out caught and bowled and then had James Anderson out LBW as England were bowled out for 195, setting India a target of 192 to win the Ranchi Test.

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