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Ashwin achieves rare feat after 105 years

Ravichandran Ashwin

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin today not only raced to the fastest 150 scalps in Indian Test history but also became the first man in over 100 years to bag 50 wickets after opening the bowling during the first cricket Test against South Africa, in progress at Mohali.

Ashwin, who had taken 45 wickets when opening the Indian bowling in Tests in the past, picked up 5 for 51 in South Africa’s first innings total of 184 after opening the attack with the new ball.

According to senior cricket statistician, R Gopalakrishna, the last man to do so was left arm orthodox slow bowler Colin Blythe of England who did it between 1902 and 1910 when he picked up 74 wickets in 13 Tests for 1319 runs.

The others who have done so are: Hugh Trumble of Australia, R Peel of England, G E (Joey) Palmer of Australia and Wilfred Rhodes of England.

Off spinner Trumble and Palmer were the only two right hand slow bowlers to achieve the feat.

In Ashwin’s case, he did it in 12 matches, off 1888 balls and after conceding 1018 runs.