Ravichandran Ashwin, Ian Bell Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin [Image Credit: AFP]

Team India head coach Rahul Dravid lauded Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for surpassing Harbhajan Singh’s number of Test wickets.

Ashwin claimed 3/35 against New Zealand in the second innings of the first Test at Green Park in Kanpur.

Ravichandran Ashwin has been an absolute match-winner for India: Rahul Dravid

Ashwin bowled New Zealand opener Tom Latham a wide delivery outside off stump, which got the batter’s under-edge and subsequently chopped on the stumps.

After getting Latham’s wicket, Ashwin went past Harbhajan’s 417 Test scalps to become India’s third-highest wicket-taker in the oldest format.

Dravid said it was a phenomenal achievement by the Tamil Nadu player and called him a match-winner.

I think it’s a phenomenal achievement. I think you know Harbhajan Singh was a really fine bowler, someone I played a lot of cricket with; terrific bowler for India and what Ashwin has done, to be able to go past him in just 80 Test matches is a phenomenal achievement,” Dravid said in the post-match media conference.

Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin
Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo: Twitter)

Ashwin is one of those guys who has been an absolute match-winner for India, even today you saw on this difficult wicket. The way he pulled us back into the game on that third morning, with that spell of 11 overs, was absolutely phenomenal.

It is a pleasure to have someone like Ravichandran Ashwin in the dressing room: Rahul Dravid

Ashwin is now just behind Kapil Dev (434) and Anil Kumble (619) in India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests.

The off-spinner also cleaned the stumps of New Zealand wicket keeper-batter Tom Blundell to build the pressure against the opposition.

However, New Zealand tail-enders Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel displayed a rock-solid defence in the final nine overs of the game to defy the Indian spinners.

India just needed one wicket to seal the game but the New Zealand spinners were great at blocking the balls to deny them a victory.

“And then today just to keep us alive in the game, constantly being threatening on wickets like this is a tribute to his skills and ability,” Dravid said.

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid. (Photo: BCCI)

He has just evolved, he has just kept growing. He is one of those guys who keeps thinking about the game, keeps changing, keeps evolving, that’s why he (has) got where he has.

You don’t achieve what Ashwin has achieved without growing and improving and evolving. It is a pleasure to have someone like him in the dressing room and to work (with). I am really happy for him,” he added.

Ashwin is the fastest bowler to reach 300 Test wickets in 54 games, he achieved the feat in November 2011.

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