Ashwin joins 400 club for India: Success in Australia, left-hander habits and five-wicket hauls

By Sports Desk February 25, 2021

It was another special day for Ravichandran Ashwin as the India all-rounder claimed his 400th Test wicket at the stunning Narendra Modi Stadium. 

Ashwin dismissed Jofra Archer during a short-lived day-night match against England in Ahmedabad, in the process becoming only the fourth India bowler to reach the landmark. 

The spinner joins compatriots Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh in the 400 club, while he is the 16th player to achieve the feat in the longest format. 

Ashwin brought up the milestone in only his 77th match; there will surely be plenty more to come for the 34-year-old, too. 

His standout numbers with the ball in the Test arena since making his debut versus West Indies in November 2011 make for impressive reading.


A five-star performer

Ashwin has taken 29 five-wicket Test hauls, a tally only six players have bettered: Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Richard Hadlee, Kumble, Rangana Herath and James Anderson. 

The in-form Ashwin is just one shy of England seamer Anderson's total of 30, having taken 6-61 in the second innings of the first Test and 5-43 in the first innings of a second match India won emphatically to level the series. 

While not quite able to add to the collection in Ahmedabad, he still finished the game with impressive match figures of 7-74. 

Ashwin has taken six five-wicket hauls in as many Tests against New Zealand - more than any other side.  He has claimed 10 scalps in a Test on seven occasions and seven in an innings five times.


A thorn in Australia's side

Ashwin has racked up 89 of his wickets against Australia, more than any other side.

They were taken in 18 matches at an average of 31.5, while he has also thrived against England over the years - taking 73 wickets at 32.2 apiece.

Ashwin has 39 Test wickets in Australia, more than any nation other than his homeland.

His best performance came in October 2016 against New Zealand in Indore, helping himself to match figures of 13-140 - including 7-59 in the second innings of a crushing 321-run win.


A liking for left-handers

Ashwin has had great success bowling at left-handers over the years. 

He has dismissed a left-hander on 205 occasions, with his average against them at 19.5 compared to 31.2 against right-handers before play began in the third Test.

Ben Stokes is among the batsmen who has suffered at the hands of Ashwin the most; he has dismissed the England all-rounder 11 times in total.

Only Muralitharan managed to make it to 400 in fewer Tests and while Kumble's final total of 619 may be an ambitious target, it seems certain that by the time Ashwin decides to retire, India's newest member of the prestigious club will occupy at least second place on their all-time list for wickets.

Related items

  • 'WI must be smarter against Sri Lanka' - Bonner insists better movement key to combating aggressive spinners 'WI must be smarter against Sri Lanka' - Bonner insists better movement key to combating aggressive spinners

    West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team’s batting line-up must find a way to get stuck in against Sri Lanka, particularly the spinners if they are to find a way to be compete in the ongoing series.

    The Caribbean team is currently 1-0 down after suffering a lop-sided defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test.  In the end, the regional team lost by 187 runs, but that could have been even worse were it not for a 100-run partnership between Bonner and Joshua Da Silva.  The duo were the only ones to get above the half-century mark and to say the majority of other batsmen found the going difficult would be an understatement.

     Sri Lanka’s spinners were aggressive throughout, with left-arm orthodox Praveen Jayawickrama (4 for 40 runs) and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis (3 for 75) doing the damage in the first innings. In the second innings, it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who grabbed an impressive 5 for 46 and Mendis (4 for 64) and Jayawickrama (1 for 28) also doing more damage.

    Bonner, who looked much more comfortable after making an adjustment for the second innings, after being dismissed for just 1 from 11 balls in the first, believes that coping with the spinners comes down to better footwork.

    "These are small things we need work on if we want to be more sure in our defense, and when we attack,” Bonner said.

    "It's difficult when players don't get a start. In the first innings, the ball was holding and spinning. It was a different challenge in the second innings when the ball was sliding at times, and spinning too. We have to come up with smart tactics in order to play all the left-arm spinners."

    The West Indies and Sri Lanka will face off in the second Test, beginning on Sunday.

  • Xavi: Undeserved win will give Barcelona big morale boost Xavi: Undeserved win will give Barcelona big morale boost

    Xavi believes Barcelona's 3-1 win over Villarreal will give his players a morale boost despite acknowledging their performance did not warrant all three points.

    The former Barca midfielder oversaw a 1-0 win over Espanyol last weekend after taking over the reins from Ronald Koeman, but it looked like he would be denied another victory on Saturday when Samuel Chukwueze cancelled out Frenkie de Jong's opener.

    Memphis Depay came to Barca's rescue, though, with a vital goal in the 88th minute, before Philippe Coutinho added a third from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

    Not only was it Barca's first away win in LaLiga this season, it was also the first time they have won back-to-back games in the competition this term.

    The win over Espanyol was followed by a 0-0 draw with Benfica in the Champions League in midweek, and Xavi says the victory at La Ceramica was comfortably the worst his side has played across his first three games in charge.

    "It was very even, Villarreal is a great team," he told a media conference. "Of the three games that I have played, it is the one that we have dominated the least and the one that we least deserved to win.

    "Today could have ended up as a draw and instead we are leaving with a victory. That is tremendous and gives us a lot of morale.

    "It is a spectacular victory that gives us a lot of morale to continue growing. This victory gives us life.

    "That game was the minimum required. Belief, attitude, respect for the badge, and hard work; they are the foundations of a team. Today was a victory of team spirit. When we do not play well, we also have to win. We are Barca."

     

    Both sides had cause to be frustrated with the officials during a chaotic opening 10 minutes. 

    Villarreal midfielder Dani Parejo was fortunate to escape a red card for a shocking early challenge on Sergio Busquets, while Gerard Pique went unpunished for a blatant handball in the penalty area soon after. 

    Xavi refused to criticise the officials, though, adding: "In the end, I will not talk about the referees. It is a very difficult job and I will not put myself into it.

    "In the end, it is the referee who decides. One day he can help you and another day harm you. It is difficult to be a referee."

    Jordi Alba was replaced by Oscar Mingueza in the 71st minute after sustaining an injury, with Xavi revealing the full-back fought through the pain barrier to continue. 

    "At half-time it looked like he could not continue, but he has made a brutal effort to carry on," the Barca boss said. "He is an example; he is one of the captains, and he is pushing us forward. Jordi has made an effort until he couldn't take any more."

  • Premier League data dive: Liverpool thump Southampton, Arsenal cruise past sorry Newcastle Premier League data dive: Liverpool thump Southampton, Arsenal cruise past sorry Newcastle

    Liverpool were in typically ruthless form on Saturday as they brushed aside Southampton 4-0 at Anfield.

    The result meant Jurgen Klopp's men became just the second English top-flight team to score two or more goals in 17 consecutive games in all competitions, after Sunderland in 1927.

    Elsewhere, rock-bottom Newcastle United's winless start to the Premier League season continued as they were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

    Steven Gerrard secured his second consecutive win since taking over as Aston Villa boss, with his side sealing a 2-1 away win at Crystal Palace.

    Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United played out a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium, as did Norwich City and Wolves at Carrow Road.

    Here, Stats Perform looks through the pick of Saturday's Opta facts…


    Liverpool 4-0 Southampton:Jota at the double for rampant Reds

    Liverpool have now scored 39 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season – their highest total at this stage of a top-flight campaign.

    Diogo Jota got them on the way with their earliest goal in the Premier League (one minute and 37 seconds) since Naby Keita netted against Huddersfield Town in April 2019 (15 seconds).

    Another from Jota and a strike from Thiago Alcantara put Liverpool 3-0 up at the break, before Virgil van Dijk rounded off the scoring early in the second half.

    Netherlands international Van Dijk's goal was created by Trent Alexander-Arnold, who earned his 40th Premier League assist. Only Wayne Rooney (22 years and 200 days) and Cesc Fabregas (21y 188d) have reached such an assists total in the competition at a younger age than the Liverpool right-back (23y 51d).

    Salah reached 150 Premier League goal involvements by setting up Jota's second, reaching that total (108 goals, 42 assists) in just 171 games. Only Alan Shearer (148 games) and Thierry Henry (163) have got there in fewer games.

    Southampton, meanwhile, have lost more away games (14) and conceded more away goals (47) than any other side in the Premier League side this calendar year.


     

    Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United: Gunners cruise against Howe's beleaguered men

    The Gunners continued their fine home form under Mikel Arteta with a routine win against Eddie Howe's struggling side.

    Since Arteta's first home game in charge in December 2019, only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have won more points at home in the Premier League than Arsenal (67).

    Bukayo Saka got them on their way before Gabriel Martinelli added a second just 93 seconds after coming on as a substitute. It was just Martinelli's second Premier League goal at the Emirates Stadium and his first since January 2020 against Sheffield United.

    The Magpies, meanwhile, became the sixth different team to fail to win any of their opening 13 games to a Premier League season, with four of the previous five sides suffering relegation (only Derby County in 2000-01 survived).

    Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa: Gerrard's winning start continues

    This victory meant former Rangers boss Gerrard became only the second manager to win his first two Premier League games in charge of Villa, after John Gregory in February-March 1998.

    Matt Targett scored the opener for Villa with his first Premier League goal in his last 75 appearances in the competition, the full-back having not netted since getting a late winner against Brighton in October 2019.

    John McGinn then added a second, the Scotland international already equalling his best goal tally for a full Premier League season (three in both 2020-21 and 2019-20).

    Marc Guehi pulled one back in stoppage time, but it was too late to prevent the Eagles suffering a first defeat in their last eight Premier League games (W2 D5), since a 3-0 away loss to Liverpool in September.

    Norwich City 0-0 Wolves: Smith maintains unbeaten start

    Dean Smith followed up a win in his first game in charge of the Canaries last weekend with a hard-fought point at home.

    Norwich have now taken seven points from their last three Premier League games (W2 D1), more than they had in their previous 25 in the competition (W1 D3 L21).

    The Canaries have also kept two clean sheets in their last four Premier League home games – as many as in their previous 26 at Carrow Road in the competition.

    It is perhaps no surprise they could not find a way past Wolves, with only Chelsea (five) and Liverpool (four) keeping more away clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Bruno Lage's men (three).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.