Ravichandran Ashwin dedicates 500th Test wicket to his father

In an awe-inspiring display of cricketing prowess, Indian spin maestro Ravichandran Ashwin etched his name into the annals of cricket history on Day 2 of the ongoing third Test match between India and England. The seasoned off-spinner achieved a monumental career milestone by claiming his 500th wicket in Test cricket. It was English batsman Zak Crawley who became the illustrious number 500, as he fell prey to Ashwin’s cunning during the decisive third session this past Friday.

Joining the ranks of cricketing legends, the 37-year-old Ashwin, who also contributed a vital 37 runs with the bat, ascended as only the second Indian after the iconic Anil Kumble—and in the eminent presence of Kumble himself at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium—to reach this landmark. Ashwin flawlessly outpaced the likes of Kumble and Australia’s Shane Warne to become the second-quickest bowler to the 500-wicket mark, a feat bested only by Sri Lankan legend Muthiah Muralidaran.

Reflecting on his journey and the gravity of his achievement after Day 2’s play in Rajkot, Ashwin conveyed a heartfelt message, dedicating his historic accomplishment to his father. “It’s been quite a long journey,” Ashwin remarked with evident emotion. “I’d like to dedicate this 500th wicket to my father. He’s been through the thick and thin of everything I’ve done in my life. He’s had heart attacks every time I’ve played. His health has gone for a toss because he’s watched games of mine on TV constantly and been a constant support for me. 500 wickets, done and dusted now.”

On the other side, England did not shy away from presenting a formidable challenge. The visiting team concluded the day with an impressive score of 207 for the loss of just 2 wickets in 35 overs. Ben Duckett particularly shone bright as he notched up his maiden Test century against India. His swashbuckling innings comprised 133 not out off 118 deliveries, bolstering England’s dominance in the match.

When asked about England’s rather aggressive response to India’s first innings total of 445, Ashwin conceded that the English batsmen had indeed applied significant pressure on the hosts. Nevertheless, he maintained a strategic focus, emphasizing the importance of the forthcoming day’s play. “The way England are playing, you’re not having to bowl a lot of overs. They’re showing a lot of intent, giving us less time to think and also less labour. You have to bowl good balls and expect one of those airy-fairy shots to go to hand. I expect this pitch to get really tough to bat, probably on day five. We need to hang in there. The game is hanging in the balance. Some things go our way tomorrow morning and we’ll find ourselves dominating. They’re putting us under pressure but it’s important to respond,” he stated, displaying the analytical insight that has served him as much as his deceptive spin.

As the history books welcome Ashwin into its hallowed pages, the cricket world watches with bated breath to see how the narrative of this enthralling contest will unfold. Day 3 promises to be a pivotal juncture in this high-octane series, as India looks to leverage their home advantage to mount a resurgence. The stage is set for both sides to showcase their mettle, and for a spinner who has spun his way into becoming a cricketing legend, there may just be a few more tricks left up his sleeve to tilt the balance in India’s favor.

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