Ashwin puts Australia in a spin as India win first Test inside three days

By Sports Desk February 11, 2023

Ravichandran Ashwin put on a spin clinic as India thrashed Australia by an innings and 132 runs inside three days to win the first Test in Nagpur.

The hosts started the day with a lead of 144, not realising that would have been more than enough already, but added a further 79 as they were eventually all out for 400, in front by 223.

Victory for India was never in doubt, with the only debate around how soon the contest would be over.

Ashwin (5-37) then tore through the Australian top order with some unstoppable spin bowling, with the tourists skittled in their second innings for just 91.

After Saturday's action began, Ravindra Jadeja reached 70 before being bowled by Todd Murphy, while Axar Patel was finally sent back for 84 by Pat Cummins as India built a healthy lead.

Mohammed Shami added 37 from 47 balls before India set about trying to keep Australia from matching their efforts with the bat, and Ashwin set the tone as he got rid of Usman Khawaja for just five.

Jadeja trapped Marnus Labuschagne (17) lbw, while David Warner – who only scored two from his first 37 balls – hit back-to-back fours before also being dismissed via lbw by Ashwin for 10.

It was the start of an lbw bonanza for Ashwin, who repeated the trick to dismiss Matt Renshaw (2), Peter Handscomb (6) and Alex Carey (10) to claim five-for inside his first 10 overs bowled.

Not to miss out on the fun, Jadeja found the edge of Cummins to send the Australia captain back to the pavilion for just a single run, before Axar forced Murphy (2) to slice to Rohit Sharma for a simple catch.

Shami tidied things up, bowling Nathan Lyon (8) before trapping Scott Boland (0) lbw as India celebrated a surprisingly easy victory, leaving a partner-less Steve Smith not out on 25.

Ashwin stars again

It felt at times like Ashwin had a personal vendetta against any and all Australian legs that came along, spinning the ball into them with such regularity you were left wondering if you were watching another replay.

Having now taken 320 wickets on Indian soil, he has leapfrogged Shane Warne (319 wickets) to become the outright fifth leading wicket-taker in Test cricket in his home country.

Removal of Head decapitates Australian batting

The second innings capitulation was the second-lowest total from Australia against India in Test history (after 83 in Melbourne, 1981).

It will lead to questions again around the decision to leave out Travis Head despite his 525 runs at an average of 87.5 in his previous five Test matches, with his replacement, Renshaw, managing a total of two runs from his two innings.

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