Ashwin’s journey to 100thTests: A Statistical Analysis of his Bowling

Ashwin’s journey to 100thTests: A Statistical Analysis of his Bowling

England’s Test tour of India in 2024 saw lots of drama and among the buzz of Bazball, India’s young brigade shone to win the key moments. India took the series 4-1 with an innings victory in the fifth Test at the Dharamshala. It tasted sweeter as it was a special occasion for Ravichandran Ashwin who reached the milestone of 100 Test matches.

Unparalleled at home

Ashwin, who also claimed his 500th wicket in Test cricket during the series, has been an asset for India and one of their biggest match winners at the home conditions. Starting his Testcareer in November 2011 Ashwin could have played his 100th Test much before. However, with another top-class spinner in Ravindra Jadeja around and with India’s recent success with fast bowlers, Ashwin missed quite a few chances outside India which also impacted his record away especially at the SENA countries.

When it comes to home, Ashwin’s Test record is unparalleled. He started with a ‘Player-of-the-Match’ performance in his debut Test at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi where he picked up 9 wickets against West Indies, one of his favourite opponents. And he never looked back!

Ashwin now has 363 Test wickets in matches played at home. This is a new Indian record after Ashwin broke the previous record held by the legendary Anil Kumble. Overall, he is the fourth highest wicket taker at home, behind Muttiah Muralidaran and the English duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Nightmare for the left-handers

Being an off-spinner, Ashwin’s regular bowling angle takes the ball away from the left-handers and although Ashwin has many variations his record against the left-handers is top class. This is another trend he displayed in his very first Test match where six of his nine victims were left-handers including the great like Shivnarine Chandrapaul. Overall, he now has more than 250 dismissals of left-hander batters and is the only player to achieve that mark.

Ashwin has also established his record as India’s one of the greatest match winners. India won 59 out of the 100 Test matches Ashwin has played which gives a winning percentage of 59% whereas Ashwin’s total wickets in those 59 matches are 363 which constitutes of more than 70% of his total Test wickets. His bowling average in those matches is 18.98 against the overall average of 23.75. Thirty out of his 36 Test 5-wicket hauls also came in those matches including one in his 100th Test.

Match winner who keeps challenging Murali’s record

Ashwin also got nine more ‘Player-of-the-Match’ awards in his next 99 Tests which is again an Indian record. Currently he is just behind Muralidaran in the list of most ‘Player-of-the-match’ awards in Tests. He can touch Murali by winning one more ‘Player-of-the-match’ award and beat him by winning two.

His record of 36 5-wicket hauls makes him joint third with Sir Richard Hadlee in the list of highest 5-wicket takers in Test cricket. He is behind two other legendary spinners, Muralidaran and Shane Warne and can move to second position with two more spells of five wickets or more. He was joint highest for Indians with Anil Kumble as both had 35 Test five-wicket hauls but now Ashwin became the sole leader of the pack among the Indians.

Muralidaran keeps dominating most of the Test bowling records, but Ashwin keeps following him. Ashwin was the fastest to reach the milestones of ‘250th’, ‘300th’ and ‘350th’ wickets in Tests.  But since then he has been consistently second behind Muralidaran while reaching ‘400th’, ‘450th’ and ‘500th’ wickets.

One record where Ashwin beat Murali was with his performance with the ball in the 100th Test. Ashwin’s 9/128 became the best bowling performance by a bowler playing his 100th Test beating 9/141 achieved by Murali in his 100th Test match against Bangladesh. Ashwin is also the first bowler to pick up at least four wickets in both innings of his 100th Test.

Favourite opponents

Ashwin has taken more than 100 Test wickets against two of his opponents, Australia and England. However, for any opponent against whom Ashwin has played at least five Test matches, his best record has been achieved against New Zealand so far. He has 66 wickets in nine Tests with an astonishing bowling average of 15.43 against the Kiwis. His best Test bowling figure of 7/59 also came against New Zealand at Indore in 2016.

After New Zealand, Ashwin’s favourite opponent is West Indies, against whom he had a Test bowling average of 20.48 and more interestingly his bowling average in West Indies is even better as he averages 19.34 in West Indies and 21.33 at home.

With 500 wickets at bag, Ashwin’s next target would be to break Anil Kumble’s record of 619 Test wickets which is the highest among the Indians. India are scheduled to play five more Test matches at home this year and 5 away Test Down Under in winter. Ashwin would like to be involved as much as possible and carry on his legacy especially with so many home Tests lined up.

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