[caption id="attachment_897507" align="alignnone" width="628"]<img class="size-full wp-image-897507" src="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/R-Ashwin-Murali-record-Vizag-Test_PTI-CC.jpg" alt="" width="628" height="364" /> R Ashwin scalped seven wickets in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa as India secured 71-run lead. PTI[/caption] <p></p> <p></p>R Ashwin completed his 27th five-wicket haul as India managed to secure a first-innings lead over South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. <p></p> <p></p>The Indian off-spinner now has 349 Test wickets and a wicket away from equalling Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan's record in the longest format of the game. <p></p> <p></p>Ashwin, who returned with the figures of 7/145 in the first innings, helped India bowl out South Africa for 431 as the hometeam, who had scored 502/7 declared, secured a 71-run lead. <p></p> <p></p>Ashwin, who was playing his first international game since December 2018, now just one wicket away from becoming the joint-fastest to take 350 wickets in Test cricket. <p></p> <p></p>The 33-year-old currently has 349 wickets against his name from 66 Test matches. And if he picks up a wicket, he will equal Muralithran who too had scalped 350 wickets in 66 Tests when Sri Lanka faced Bangladesh in 2001. <p></p> <p></p>The Sri Lankan holds the record of most wickets in Test cricket, having scalped 800 wickets. <p></p> <p></p>Former India captain and legspinner Anil Kumble had taken 77 Test matches to reach the 350-wicket landmark. <p></p> <p></p>Ashwin, who made his debut in Test cricket in 2011, was not picked in India's playing XI in the two-match Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean. India had opted for Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Ashwin as the lone frontline spinner. <p></p> <p></p>However, Ashwin returned with a bang as India look to win their first Test during the homeseason and strengthened their position in the ICC World Test Championship.