India’s ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has made his presence felt in the ongoing County Championship as he claimed his maiden five-wicket haul on his Surrey debut in the four-day fixture against Somerset at The Oval on Wednesday. After a below-par outing in the first innings, Ashwin showcased his skill as he outfoxed Somerset batsmen to snare a crucial five-for for his County side – Surrey. He bagged just one wicket in 43 overs he bowled in the first innings.

The 34-year-old, who is one among only three Indian spinners to take over 400 Test wickets, will be key to India’s fortunes in the highly-awaited five-match Test series against England, beginning August 4. Opening the bowling with the new ball once again, Ashwin removed Steven Davies, Tom Lammonby, James Hildreth, George Bartlett and Roelof van der Merwe to claim figures of 5 for 23 in 13 overs and leave Somerset reeling at 60 for 7 at lunch on Day 4.

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Earlier this year, the English top-order had struggled against him and left-arm spinner Axar Patel on spin-friendly pitches during the Test tour of India in February-March.

Ashwin had ended with the Player-of-the-Series award, having scalped 32 wickets and scored valuable runs. In the World Test Championship final against New Zealand last month, he picked four wickets for 45 runs as India lost the Test. Ahead of the ongoing county game, the wily spinner had expressed happiness at getting an opportunity.

“I am so privileged to be having the badge on. I have heard and wondered what the London counties are all about. Even though it’s only for a game, I am delighted to share this dressing room,” Ashwin had said in a video shared by the Surrey county team.