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Ashwin, Meet India's 100 Test Club

February 28, 2024 10:45 IST

Ravichandran Ashwin

Photograph: BCCI/X

As Ravichandran Ashwin prepares to step onto the field for his 100th Test in the Dharamsala fixture on March 7, he is poised to join 14 Indian cricketers and a global fraternity of 77, marking a testament to his extraordinary journey in the game.

With an illustrious career spanning 99 Tests, Ashwin boasts 507 wickets, including 35 five-wicket hauls and 24 four-fors, along with over 3,000 runs and five centuries.

Over the course of 13 years, he has played a pivotal role in India's cricketing triumphs, from securing the top spot in the ICC Test rankings to pivotal contributions in Australia and two World Test Championship finals.

Acknowledging Ashwin's impact, Sunil Gavaskar -- the first Indian cricketer to play 100 Tests -- would like Rohit Sharma to grant the spinner the honour of leading the team onto the field in Dharamsala.

The significance of playing 100 Test matches is reflected in the elite group of Indian cricketers who achieved this milestone. Take a look:

1. Sachin Tendulkar, 200 Tests

Sachin Tendulkar

IMAGE: Over his illustrious 24-year cricketing career, Sachin Tendulkar played 200 Tests/ Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

An extraordinary 200 Tests -- an unparalleled global feat.

Tendulkar achieved the monumental milestone of 100 Tests against England at The Oval in 2002. His celebration included a score of 54, coupled with a memorable partnership alongside Rahul Dravid.

Making his debut at 16 in November 1989, Tendulkar retired after inspiring two distinct generations of cricketers. Over his incomparable 24-year cricketing career, he scored a staggering 15,921 runs -- a record that still stands atop the list of leading run-scorers in Test cricket.

Tendulkar's cricketing prowess extends to holding the record for the most centuries in Test cricket, with a remarkable 51 centuries to his name.

From his start against Pakistan in 1989 to his farewell Test against the West Indies at the Wankhede stadium in 2013, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar's cricketing journey is a tale of excellence.

2 Rahul Dravid, 163 Tests

Rahul Dravid

In his 100th Test against England in 2006, Dravid's resilience shone through as he contributed with scores of 52 and 9, despite India facing defeat.

Dravid's mastery is highlighted by the fact that he faced the highest number of balls (31,258) in Test cricket, a testament to his enduring presence at the crease. It's no wonder that Dravid earned the moniker 'The Wall,' symbolising his impervious defence and steadfastness.

Making his debut at Lord's against England in 1996 alongside Sourav Ganguly, Dravid marked his entry into Test cricket with a solid 95 runs. He scored 13,288 runs at an average of 52.31, securing his position as India's second-highest run-scorer in Test cricket.

Never dismissed for a golden duck in the 286 Test innings he played, Dravid's consistency is a hallmark of his cricketing journey.

His captaincy stint included historic wins in South Africa and England in 2007.

3. V V S Laxman, 134 Tests

VVS Laxman

Renowned for his artistic flair on the cricket field, Laxman etched a memorable chapter in his illustrious career during his 100th Test against Australia in 2008.

His impactful contributions with scores of 64 and 4 played a significant role in India's triumph, leaving an indelible mark on the cricketing landscape.

Regarded as India's crisis manager under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly and M S Dhoni in Test cricket, Laxman played a pivotal role in numerous historic wins that solidified his cricketing legacy.

One of the defining moments in his career was the iconic 281-run knock against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata during the second Test of the 2001 series. Partnering with Rahul Dravid, the duo crafted a record 376-run stand, widely celebrated as one of the finest partnerships in Test cricket history.

Over his 16-year career spanning 134 Tests, Laxman showcased his batting prowess by scoring 8,781 runs in 225 innings for India.

The remarkable consistency in his performance is evident in the 17 Test centuries he scored.

Laxman's journey, which began with his Test debut against South Africa in 1996, concluded with his final match against Australia in 2012.

4. Anil Kumble, 132 Tests

Anil Kumble

Acclaimed as India's most successful Test bowler, Kumble achieved a significant milestone in his illustrious career by completing his 100th Test against Sri Lanka in 2005.

The landmark match witnessed Kumble's stellar performance, marked by a memorable five-wicket haul that played a pivotal role in securing India's victory.

Throughout his remarkable journey spanning 132 games, Kumble left an indelible mark by amassing an impressive total of 619 wickets.

One of the defining moments in his career occurred during the second Test against Pakistan in February 1999 in Delhi, where Kumble achieved the extraordinary feat of scalping all 10 wickets for a mere 74 runs.

5. Kapil Dev, 131 Tests

The iconic captain who led India to its historic World Cup triumph in 1983 achieving the 100th Test milestone against Pakistan in 1989. His performance in that milestone game was typically exceptional -- scoring 55 runs and scalping seven wickets.

His legacy as one of the greatest all-rounders of his era is further solidified by holding a unique distinction -- being the only cricketer to amass more than 400 wickets (434) and accumulate over 5,000 Test runs (5,248).

6. Sunil Gavaskar, 125 Tests

Sunil Gavaskar

Gavaskar left an indelible mark during his magnificent Test career spanning from 1971 to 1987. Playing in 125 Tests, he showcased extraordinary skill, amassing an impressive 34 centuries for India.

Gavaskar etched his name in history as the first batter to breach the 10,000-run mark in Test cricket.

In a career filled with remarkable achievements, Gavaskar's 100th Test, contested against Pakistan in 1984, stands as a testament to his enduring legacy.

7. Dilip Vengsarkar, 116 Tests

Dilip Vengsarkar

Vengsarkar graced the cricketing arena with his sublime skills in 116 Tests.

In his centennial Test against New Zealand, Vengsarkar encountered a unique twist of fate, registering a rare duck.

The consistent batter scored 6,868 runs, punctuated by 17 centuries, in his storied Test career.

Notably, his three consecutive Test centuries at Lord's underscored his mastery over the game and cemented his reputation as a true luminary of Indian cricket.

8. Sourav Ganguly, 113 Tests

Sourav Ganguly

Dada steered India to unprecedented heights with his astute leadership.

Revered as one of India's paramount captains, dada graced the field in 113 Tests, amassing 7,212 runs at an average of 42.17, inclusive of 16 centuries.

In his momentous 100th Test against Australia in 2007, Ganguly faced a challenging contest, contributing scores of 43 and 40 for India.

Notably, his left-handed brilliance shone brightest at Lord's, where his monumental 131 against England remains etched in our memory.

9. Virat Kohli, 113 Tests

Virat Kohli

Kohli, marking his presence as the 12th Indian cricketer to reach the milestone of 100 Tests, reflects on his journey since debuting against the West Indies in 2011 with scores of 4 and 15.

Having accumulated 8,848 runs in Test cricket at an average of 49.15, Kohli celebrated his 100th Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali in 2022.

In the commemorative match, he contributed with 45 runs in the first innings; India won the game by an innings and 222 runs.

10. Ishant Sharma, 103 Tests

Ishant Sharma

Ishant marked his 100th Test appearance in 2021 against England. The seasoned pacer became the second Indian seamer to reach the 100 Test milestone during the third Test in Ahmedabad in February 2021.

Despite India facing defeat, Ishant's enduring commitment to the game and his impressive tally of 311 Test wickets stand as remarkable achievements.

His noteworthy performance of 7/74 against England at Lord's in July 2014 is hailed as one of the country's finest away bowling displays.

11. Harbhajan Singh, 103 Tests

Harbhajan Singh

On March 11, 2001, Harbhajan became the first Indian bowler to claim a hat-trick in Test cricket, a feat achieved during the second Test against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Known as the Turbanator, the off-spinner accumulated 417 wickets over his distinguished 17-year Test career.

Despite not achieving prominent milestones in his 100th Test, he left an enduring legacy as a masterful bowler, contributing significantly to India's march towards supremacy.

12. Virender Sehwag, 103 Tests

Virender Sehwag

The flamboyant opener,stands as a testament to audacious batting, holding the record for the highest individual score by an Indian batter in Test cricket -- a milestone he achieved not once, but twice.

Often dubbed as the precursor to the modern 'Bazball,' Sehwag's aggressive approach to batting revolutionised Test cricket, where he showcased his dominance with scores of 309 against Pakistan in Multan (2004) and 319 against South Africa in Chennai (2008).

In a career spanning 103 Tests, Sehwag amassed a staggering 8,586 runs. Initially beginning his journey as a middle-order batsman, he seamlessly transitioned into the role of opener, bringing a new dimension to the game.

Making his Test debut against South Africa in 2001, Sehwag's final appearance graced the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium in Hyderabad in 2013.

In his 100th Test against England in Mumbai, Sehwag contributed with scores of 30 and 9 in two innings. The match ended with England emerging victorious by 10 wickets.

13. Cheteshwar Pujara, 103 Tests

Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara marked his 100th Test in February 2023 with a memorable feat, clinching victory against Australia in Delhi by hitting the winning runs.

Pujara's unbeaten 31 in the second innings highlighted his resilience and contributed to the historic moment, making him only the second player, after Ricky Ponting, to achieve this milestone.

However, the Saurashtra batter faced a challenging first innings, registering a duck and joining the ranks of international players with this unwanted score in their 100th Test. Pujara's accomplishment made him the 13th Indian and the 75th player globally to reach this significant landmark.

Known for his prowess in the longest format, Pujara has played 103 Tests for India, amassing 7,195 runs at an average of 43.60, including an impressive 19 centuries.

His debut against Australia in 2010 marked the beginning of a remarkable Test journey, showcasing his excellence, particularly against spin bowling, and dominant performances on foreign soil.