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Ravichandran Ashwin Registers 31st Test Five-For, Puts India On Brink Of Big Win vs Australia

Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday registered his 31st five-wicket haul in Test cricket

Ravichandran Ashwin produced a superb spell of bowling to claim his 31st five-wicket haul in Test cricket to put India in a commanding position against Australia in Nagpur. India took a lead of 223 runs on Day 3 of the first Test encounter and with Australia facing a tough task on a turning wicket, Ashwin proved to be the game changer for the hosts. Ashwin took the wickets of Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Alex Carey to achieve the milestone.

Ashwin received a lot of assistance from the pitch and his disciplined bowling was not difficult for the Australia batsmen to play against. While Warner was caught brilliantly by Virat Kohli, the four other dismissals were all LBWs with the batsmen having trouble in reading his line and length.

 

Axar Patel hit a resolute 84 while Mohammed Shami smashed an entertaining 37 as India took a massive 223-run first innings lead by posting 400 against Australia.

Axar put his head down and let Shami attack in the 52-run ninth-wicket stand, helping India outbat Australia on a track which the visiting media alleged was “doctored”.

India had resumed the day at 321 for seven with Ravindra Jadeja (70) and Patel at the crease. Jadeja did not last long as he shouldered arms to a Murphy delivery that was fired in from an angle and crashed on to the stumps.

 

The pitch hasn’t changed its character much and it remains a slow turner where any batter ready to grind it out will get results.

Lunch was taken when Indian innings ended.

 

Shami, who was dropped on 6 by Scott Boland at long-on off Nathan Lyon, decided to launch a swift counter-attack on opposition best bowler Todd Murphy (7/124).

He hit the bespectacled off-spinner for three sixes — a slog sweep over mid-wicket, a flat six over long-off and monstrous hit over long-on — apart from a couple of boundaries during his 47 ball stay.

 

Adding 50-plus runs in just over an hour (65 minutes) was laudable and Patel on his part gave Shami bulk of the strike.

If Australia had any chance of wrapping it up, Boland’s goof up proved costly as Shami made them pay dearly.

 

While Murphy has been impressive on debut, Lyon’s (1/126) performance has been disappointing to say the least as his bowling lacked the bite.

Almost all the Indian batters found it easy to defend the veteran off-spinner off the back-foot.

Once Shami was dismissed going for his fourth maximum off Murphy, Patel decided to attack and lofted the debutant straight into the sightscreen for his first six.

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