India vs South Africa 2019: Ravichandran Ashwin joint-quickest to 350 Test wickets
Ravichandran Ashwin (AFP Photo)

India offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday equalled the record of spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan by becoming the joint-fastest to 350 Test wickets in history. Both Ashwin and Muralitharan reached the milestone in their respective 66th Test.

Ashwin, playing in his first international match of 2019, needed eight wickets to reach 350 wickets in the ongoing series opening first Test against South Africa in Vizag. He took 7/145 in the first innings and then on the fifth and final day, removed Theunis de Bryun in his first over of the morning, for his 350th Test scalp.

Ashwin thus overtook Anil Kumble‘s India record who needed 77 Tests.

Muralitharan holds the record for the most wickets in Test cricket’s history with 800 scalps to his name.

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 with Ravindra Jadeja taking the lone-spinner’s slot.

The 33-year-old Ashwin, however, marked his return with an emphatic manner in securing India a crucial 71-run lead against South Africa with his 27th five-wicket haul in Tests.

S. no Player Team Tests Opposition
1 Ravichandran Ashwin India 66 South Africa
1 Muttiah Muralitharan Sri Lanka 66 Bangladesh
2 Richard Hadlee New Zealand 69 West Indies
2 Dale Steyn South Africa 69 India
3 Dennis Lillee Australia 70 Pakistan
4 Glenn McGrath Australia 74 England
5 Malcolm Marshall West Indies 75 Australia

Top-five quickest to 350 Test wickets

“To stay away from (international) 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. I tried and played the TNPL as much as I could, played some league cricket in Chennai,” Ashwin had said after third day’s play. “It was very important to tick those numbers off because that is essentially where I came from. Going back and playing there is probably the best thing that could have happened.”