India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday became the joint fastest to take 350 wickets, matching Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan’s feat in his 66th Test.
Ashwin, who had taken his 27th five-wicket haul in the first innings of the opening Test against South Africa, castled Theunis de Bruyn with one that turned back sharply from wide outside the off stump for his milestone wicket on day five in Visakhapatnam.
Muralitharan also took the same number of matches to claim 350 wickets. The spin legend, now 47, retired in 2010 with 800 wickets.
The 33-year-old took just five balls to provide India the breakthrough in the morning session with South African chasing an improbable target of 395 runs. He returned to the Indian XI after playing against Australia last year and has claimed eight wickets so far in the first Test.
Earlier in November 2017, Ashwin became the fastest bowler to reach the milestone of 300 Test wickets. He broke Australian pace ace Dennis Lillee’s record by achieving the feat in just 54 matches.
The wily off-spinner has answered his critics with a stellar show in the first Test of the home season. Ashwin, who played his first international game since December 2018, didn’t play in the two-Test series in the West Indies in August-September with Ravindra Jadeja being the preferred choice.
Ahead of the first Test, skipper Virat Kohli had said that Ashwin remains India’s go to spinner in home conditions.
With agency inputs