New Delhi: India spectacularly bowled out New Zealand on 299 in Indore after scoring 557 runs themselves in 1st innings.
If there is a player apart from Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane who deserves credit for India sitting 276 runs ahead of Kiwis, it is Ravichandrand Ashwin.
The 30-year-old has unarguably become India's go-to bowler no matter what the conditions are.
India has to thank Ashwin's immaculate 6-for at the Holkar stadium for being in such a commanding position in the final test.
Here are the facts that reveal why R. Ashwin is galloping towards legendary status for India:-
1. Ravichandran Ashwin has become the fourth Indian bowler to bag 20 or more instances of five-wicket hauls in Tests, joining Anil Kumble (35), Harbhajan Singh (25) and Kapil Dev (23).
2. Ashwin has taken his wickets' tally to 213 at an average of 24.81 -- the highest by a bowler after 39 Tests, surpassing Waqar Younis' tally of 208 (ave.20.56).
3. Ashwin's tally of 20 five-wicket hauls in Tests include five vs New Zealand, four each vs West Indies, South Africa and Australia, two vs Sri Lanka and one vs Bangladesh.
4. Ashwin has become the first Indian bowler to produce five five-wicket hauls vs New Zealand in only five Tests. Only four bowlers have registered six instances of five-wicket hauls vs New Zealand -- Derek Underwood, Ian Botham, Wasim Akram and Dale Steyn.
5. Earlier, Ashwin also became the fastest Indian bowler to pick up 200 wickets in Tests, breaking the record of Harbhajan Singh who had taken 37 matches more.
Cricketing icon, Sunil Gavaskar too showered praise on the off spinner stating, "Ravichandran Ashwin will finish his cricket career as a legend of the game if he keeps performing the way he did."
Gavaskar's quote came in when Ashwin took 10 wickets against New Zealand in the Kanpur Test, which India won by 97 runs.
In the on-going match, Ashwin came up with a sensational post-lunch spell to grab four top order wickets, including three in the space of 13 balls, after New Zealand openers Martin Guptill (72) and Tom Latham (53) had made a great start by putting on 118 runs.
The Chennai-born bowler then sent back Latham, to break the opening partnership before lunch, and then dismissed captain and No 3 Kane Williamson (8) before adding the scalps of Ross Taylor (0) and Luke Ronchi (0) to trigger a top-order collapse from which New Zealand could not recover.
(With Agency inputs)