Top 3 bowling spells of Ravichandran Ashwin outside the subcontinent
Ravichandran Ashwin has manifested into Indian skipper Virat Kohli's go-to man in the longest format of the game, and it is not without reason that he has been included in the Test team of the last decade listed out by veteran cricketers and most pundits of the game.
Ashwin picked up 564 wickets in the last decade and owing to his performances, has attained a talismanic status amongst the fans of Test Cricket and it would be a travesty of justice to deny his contributions in India's ascent to the pinnacle of the ICC Test rankings.
Despite his staggering numbers, a criticism that is directed towards Ashwin is his ineffectiveness outside the subcontinent, specifically in Australia, England and South Africa, where the conditions tend to favour the pace bowlers a lot more.
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While Ashwin has a staggering record at home, having picked up 254 wickets at a meagre average of 22.8, his strike rate and average appear on the higher side when considering his away record.
He has picked up only 108 wickets outside India, at an average of 31.40. When taking into account only performances in Australia, England and South Africa, the numbers take a further beating.
In 15 matches in these three countries, Ashwin has picked up 48 wickets at an average of 43.37. This discrepancy between his home and away records has given rise to criticism that Ashwin is effective only in home conditions.
However, that is not entirely true. To his credit, Ashwin has had some notable performances outside the subcontinent as well and in this article, we take a look at three of Ashwin's best bowling performances outside Asia.
#1 4/113 against South Africa at Centurion (2018)
After going wicketless in his previous tour of South Africa in 2013, Ashwin superbly turned the tide in his favour in his next tour in 2018. In the first innings of the second Test match of the three-match series at Centurion, Ashwin rattled the South African batting line up with his clever variations.
On a pitch where the pacers were expected to rule the roost, Ashwin with his guile and precision, managed to make a mark. As the openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram were cruising along, skipper Kohli turned to his trusted man to do the job and Ashwin didn't disappoint.
On seeing Elgar jump out of his crease, Ashwin cleverly shortened the length and enticed the batsman to loft it up, thus bringing about India's first wicket. Markram was next to follow, the right-hander cheated to poke at a widish delivery, undone by the angle from Ashwin.
The off-spinner then cleaned cleaned up Quinton de Kock for a golden duck before he picked up the scalp of Morne Morkel to finish with a memorable 4-wicket haul.
Though India eventually lost the match by 135 runs, Ashwin's top spell on a tough pitch left a statement that he wasn't a subcontinental specialist and that he could pick wickets on bouncy tracks as well.