Ravichandran Ashwin picked up his 350th wicket during the Vizag Test and he equalled the record of Muttiah Muralitharan. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Ravichandran Ashwin has broken several records in Test cricket and during the Vizag match, he achieved another feat. In his first over of the fifth day, Ashwin bowled a length ball that spun back in sharply and kept low to breach the defences of Theunis de Bruyn. The wicket of de Bruyn was Ashwin's 350th in Tests and he achieved it in his 66th match, equal with Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka. Ashwin's feat continued his magnificent Vizag Test in which he picked up 7/145 in the first innings.
The offspinner is the fastest Indian to get to 200 wickets. On the same day Ashwin picked up five wickets, his spin bowling counterpart Ravindra Jadeja became the second-fastest to 200, achieving the feat in his 44th match. Jadeja, though, is the fastest left-arm bowler to take 200 wickets in Tests in so few games.
Ashwin had last played a Test for the Indian cricket team in December 2018 during the Adelaide Test against Australia. After getting injured again, Ashwin spent a considerable time on the sidelines with India playing a majority of ODIs and T20Is before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The offspinner was not included in the playing XI for the series against West Indies but was picked for the Vizag Test against South Africa. Ashwin responded by taking his 27th five-wicket haul.
Ashwin also has 27 five-wicket hauls and he is second behind Anil Kumble for the most wickets by an Indian bowler. During his time away from cricket, Ashwin had played some County cricket for Nottinghamshire and he picked up five wickets in one match. He also played some games in the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
"To stay away from cricket itself was very tough for me. In order to substitute, I played whatever games I got. I tried and made opportunity for myself to go and play some county cricket (for Nottinghamshire). I tried and played the TNPL as much as I could, played some league cricket in Chennai," Ashwin had said on the previous day after picking up his five-wicket haul. India's last series at home against South Africa in 2015 resulted in Virat Kohli's side winning the four-match series 3-0.