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Feels absolutely nothing at all: Ashwin on going past Harbhajan

Last updated on: November 29, 2021 18:15 IST

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin, right, celebrates with Cheteshwar Pujara after the wicket of Tom Latham, during Day 5 of the first Test in Kanpur on Monday. Photograph: BCCI

Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday went past Harbhajan Singh to become the third highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket, reaching the mark in his 80th match.

 

The legendary Anil Kumble tops the chart with 619 scalps and is followed by India's first World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, who has a total of 434 wickets under his name.

The 35-year-old Ashwin drew level with Harbhajan (417 in 103 games), who remains one of India's finest spinners, when he took the wicket of New Zealand opener Will Young towards the end of the fourth day in the opening Test in Kanpur.

The spinner dismissed Tom Latham to get his 418th Test wicket on the fifth and final day, before he followed it up with the wicket of Tom Blundell to finish with 3/35 in 30 overs. In New Zealand's first innings, he had registered figures of 3/82 in 42.3 overs, helping the hosts gain a handy 49-run lead by bowling out the opposition for 296.

Debutant Rachin Ravindra and No 11 batsman Ajaz Patel survived intense pressure to help New Zealand draw the opening Test.

Chasing a target of 284 for victory on the final day, New Zealand slumped to 155/9 before Ravindra and Patel batted resolutely to deny India and guided New Zealand to 165/9 when bad light stopped play.

Ravindra faced 91 balls for his 18 not out, while Patel survived 23 balls to be unbeaten on two.

After India could not close out the game against New Zealand, Ashwin was asked what the milestone made him feel.

"Absolutely nothing at all. These are milestones that are constantly kept on tab, it's wonderful. Ever since Rahul bhai has taken over, he's kept saying how many wickets you take, how many runs you make in 10 years time, you won't remember them," Ashwin said.

"It's the memories that matters so I want to have some special memories going forward in the next 3-4 years," he dded.

The match lasted full five days though bad light played a part every evening. Ashwin was diplomatic while talking about the surface.

"Anytime pitches are being spoken about and I am asked a question, it turns into a controversy. So, I'll try and keep a tab on that."

"Getting down to the last session, last mandatory over, I think it's played its part, some wonderful Test cricket. The young boy, Ravindra, batted beautifully, showed great composure, Ajaz Patel with his defence," Ashwin said.

"It just tells you a story. Everybody hangs in there, everybody can defend well these days, so it's not as easy as it used to be once upon a time getting these tail-enders out. Great day of Test cricket, I hope people who watched it enjoyed it."

It was a close game and Ashwin was all praise for the traditional format.

"The beauty of Test cricket is that you need to want it. It's really hard, it's not one of those formats where you turn up, have a good day, have a good four-over bowl or have a good 20-overs bat.

"There is a lot of pain, there is a lot of hard work, there's a lot of tenacity you need to bring into play. Definitely I am someone who wants to play this format and I enjoy it." He added that they bowled well on the final day though the last New Zealand pair denied them a win.

"We were actually keeping things under control. We were bowling in good areas and we knew if we had the time to go on and put some pressure on them, we could get the job done but light was always going to come in the last session.

"There has been bad light in every single day of this Test match so we did expect it, so no complains. Couldn't get the job done but we stuck together well."

Ashwin is the fourth Indian bowler to take more than 400 wickets in Test cricket. He also became the 13th highest Test wicket-taker of all time, moving past Pakistani fast bowling great Wasim Akram (414) as well apart from Harbhajan.

Among the active Test cricketers, Ashwin is the third highest wicket taker after English pacers Stuart Broad (524) and James Anderson (632).

Ashwin made his Test debut in November 2011 against the West Indies in Delhi. His wickets have come at a strike rate of 52.4 and average of 24.56.

Apart from his exploits with the ball, Ashwin is also known for his capability with the bat, scoring 2685 runs at an average of 27.68 with five centuries to his name.

The man from Chennai has also taken 150 wickets in 111 ODIs and is the third highest wicket taker for India in T20Is with 61 scalps from 51 matches.

India's top wicket-takers in Test cricket:

PlayerMatWktsBest Bowling5w10wAvgS/R
Anil Kumble 132 619 10/74 35 8 29.65 65.99
Kapil Dev 131 434 9/83 23 2 29.65 63.92
Ravichandran Ashwin 80 419 7/59 30 7 24.48 52.70
Harbhajan Singh 103 417 8/84 25 5 32.46 68.54
Zaheer Khan 92 311 7/87 11 1 32.95 60.40
Ishant Sharma 105 311 7/74 11 1 32.40 61.60
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