Although off-spinners generally tend to enjoy bowling against left-handed batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara always made it difficult for the leading off-spinners of his time. He has mind-boggling averages against leading off-break bowlers like Saeed Ajmal, Harbhajan Singh and Nathan Lyon. It wasn't until the Indian tour of Sri Lanka in 2015 that he came up with a real adversary in Ravichandran Ashwin.
The southpaw managed to score just 95 runs off the 4 innings that he played in that series, averaging just over 23 runs an innings. The numbers were quite below par for a batsman of his stature. Ravichandran Ashwin managed to dismiss him all 4 times and it took him just 23 balls to achieve this feat.
Remembering this exceptional performance while talking to Pakistani journalist Mazher Arshad, Ravichandran Ashwin said he was probably in the form of his life during that period.
"The ball was coming out like a dream, I didn’t have to think about anything. I felt like my entire action and rhythm was in motion. I was bowling like a dream to left-handers. I felt like whenever I saw any left-hander I could see who he was," Ravichandran Ashwin said.
Ravichandran Ashwin did not want to take anything away from the genius of Sangakkara. He said that he felt since Sangakkara was almost in the sunset of his career, and he himself was taking off in his career, and hence, it could just be a case of being in the right place at the right time. And the form he was in at the time, he could have done that to any left-handed batsman in the world.
I loved bowling in Sri Lanka: Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin is the quickest in the history of the game to reach 300 wickets in Test match cricket. He has always had a good time bowling specifically in Sri Lanka, enjoying an average of 21.58 in matches played there, which is significantly better than his career average of 25.43.
"“And I loved bowling in Sri Lanka. Because Sri Lanka pitches are not big on the spin, but they have a good bounce and speed to carry an edge to the slips. So, I really enjoyed bowling in that phase of my career."
India won the series 2-1 after losing the first test. Ashwin was the leading wicket taker in that series with 21 wickets at an average of just over 18, and was rightly adjudged the player of the series.