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Ravichandran Ashwin’s quiet march to 500 Test wickets

Ashwin has rarely been the headline name in the India team but his key role in their bowling attack makes remarkable reading.

Tom White
Friday 16 February 2024 12:08 GMT
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of England’s Zak Crawley, his 500th in Tests (Ajit Solanki/AP)
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of England’s Zak Crawley, his 500th in Tests (Ajit Solanki/AP) (AP)

Ravichandran Ashwin took his 500th Test wicket for India in the third match of the series against England.

Ashwin dismissed Zak Crawley for 15 in the first innings and here, the PA news agency looks at the 37-year-old’s impressive record.

Landmark wicket

Ashwin has reached 500 in his 98th Test since making his debut in 2011 – a relatively late starter aged 25, having made his limited-overs bow the previous year.

His wickets have come at an average of 23.95, with 34 five-wicket hauls including a best of seven for 59 against New Zealand in October 2016 as he also picked up his best match figures of 13 for 140.

He has 114 wickets against Australia and 98 against England though in terms of favourite opponents, his 66 wickets at an average of 15.44 against New Zealand or 75 at 20.48 against the West Indies may take the honours.

England captain Ben Stokes is his most regular victim with 12 dismissals, one more than Australia’s David Warner. He has 277 wickets caught, including 46 by the wicketkeeper, 110 lbw, 100 bowled and 13 stumped.

Quiet dominance

Ashwin has rarely been the headline name in the India team but his key role in their bowling attack makes remarkable reading.

In the 98 Tests he has played, India have taken 1,655 wickets – meaning Ashwin has been responsible for over 30 per cent of them.

He has more wickets than the second- and third-leading wicket-takers in those matches combined – fellow spinner Ravindra Jadeja on 231 and seamer Mohammed Shami on 161 – more five-wicket innings than the next six combined and 10-wicket matches (eight) than all other India bowlers in those games (five).

With 3,308 runs at a batting average of 26.67 for good measure, Ashwin has been invaluable to India for over a decade without necessarily claiming the spotlight.

500 club

Ashwin is the ninth man to take 500 Test wickets and only the second after Muttiah Muralitharan to get there in fewer than 100 Tests.

Former Sri Lanka spinner Muralitharan took just 89 Tests to reach 500 and ended his career with a record 800 wickets at an average of 22.72 in 133 Tests, one of which was played for a World XI in 2005 and contributed five to his wicket tally.

His total stands 92 clear of the late Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne in second, with England’s James Anderson the leading active player on 696.

Anil Kumble, Ashwin’s predecessor in the India spin ranks, took 619 with Anderson’s long-time new-ball partner Stuart Broad the final member of the 600 club on 604.

Glenn McGrath took 563 for Australia and Courtney Walsh 519 for the West Indies, with Australia spinner Nathan Lyon two behind Walsh.

After Ashwin there will not be another addition to the 500 club for some years to come. New Zealand seamer Tim Southee is the next active player on a distant 376, and aged 35, while time is also against Australia’s Mitchell Starc (353). South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada is younger at 28 but has yet to take 300 wickets.

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