Indian off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin is having a remarkable Test series in Australia. The series is not even at its mid-point yet, and he is breaking records of former greats. On Saturday (December 26), Ashwin, earlier known to be just an ordinary bowler in overseas conditions, broke former India legend Anil Kumble’s record.
Ashwin surpassed the leg-spinner’s tally of 7 three-wicket hauls in Australia as he took his 8th 3-for down under ending with figures of 3/35 in Australia’s first innings in Melbourne. Former spinners, Bishan Singh Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna have six 3-fers each in Australia.
He now has the most Test 3-fers by an Indian spinner in Australia. In the first innings of the Adelaide Test as well, the off-spinner scalped out 4 Aussie batters.
The Tamil Nadu lad is on his fourth tour to Australia- starting in 2011. Bowling in 15 innings, the 34-year-old has picked 35 wickets at an average of 40- improving with every tour.
India on top after Day 1 in Melbourne; R Ashwin gets Steve Smith again
Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat first. India, without the likes of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami, led by stand-in skipper, Ajinkya Rahane made four changes to the eleven while Australia retained the same team which won the Adelaide Test.
However, the visitors looked reinvigorated on the field- thankfully, the Indian fielders grabbed their catches. Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Joe Burns in the fifth over. Matthew Wade, who was looking in his aggressive mode, trying to go for a big shot fell to Ravichandran Ashwin, who was introduced as early as in the 11th over.
The offie, in his third over, got rid of Australia’s totemic batsman, Steve Smith- for the second time in two Tests. Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne stitched a 86 runs partnership before both the batsmen departed in tandem to Jasprit Bumrah and debutant Mohammed Siraj.
From 124/3, the hosts slipped to 195/10. Jasprit Bumrah took 4 wickets, while it was R Ashwin who dented the Aussies with his 3/35 in 24. Siraj was impressive on his debut as he snared a couple of wickets.
The scars of Adelaide came back soon to haunt the Indian fans as Mitchell Starc got Mayank Agarwal lbw in the very first over of India’s batting. However, another debutant, Shubman Gill along with the ever-reliant Cheteshwar Pujara steadied the ship as India went unscathed after Agarwal’s wicket to end the day with the score of 36/1.