India vs England, 2nd Test: Gambhir, Butcher hail Ashwin after off-spinner break several records on Day 2

India vs England, 2nd Test
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India vs England, 2nd Test: Gambhir, Butcher hail Ashwin after off-spinner break several records on Day 2

Highlights

India vs England, 2nd Test: Former England cricketer Mark Butcher has hailed Ravichandran Ashwin, calling him a “professor of the game” after the Indian off-spinner broke a few records with his five-wicket haul on Day two of the ongoing Chennai Test.

India vs England, 2nd Test: Former England cricketer Mark Butcher has hailed Ravichandran Ashwin, calling him a "professor of the game" after the Indian off-spinner broke a few records with his five-wicket haul on Day two of the ongoing Chennai Test.

In reply to India's 329, England were bundled out for a mere 134, courtesy of Ashwin's excellent figures of 5 for 43 in 23.5 overs. En route his 29th five-for in Test cricket, Ashwin also surpassed Harbhajan Singh on the list of most wickets on home soil. Harbhajan picked 265 wickets between 1998 and 2013 in 55 Tests in India, while Ashwin has already claimed 268 wickets in just 43 Tests at home.

Home record

During England's innings on Sunday, Ashwin equalled Harbhajan's tally of 265 wickets at home with the dismissals of Dom Sibley, Daniel Lawrence and England captain Joe Root in the first session before he went past Bhajji with the wicket of Ben Stokes. The 34-year-old local bowler went on to pick the wickets of Olly Stone and Stuart Broad as he finished the day as India's second leading wicket-taker in home Tests after Anil Kumble (350 wickets in 63 Tests).

In a conversation with Star Sports, Butcher heaped praise on Ashwin, saying he is an "unbelievably tricky" bowler to face as an opponent.

"I mean England are a much better team playing in the sub-continent nowadays than perhaps they were20 years ago. They tend to play spin very well. So if you are going to be knocking them over for less than 200, you need to have a special bowler. Ashwin is incredible, he is a professor of the game. I know he loves to study opposition batsmen, he is forever working out different angles, different degrees of turn, and different degrees of flight.

Fair enough, you have a pitch that is taking turns and conditions that suit you but he is then able to work out 'how do I get the ball from my hand in the most dangerous spot in 3 or more different ways. I will go a little bit flatter, a little bit quicker and a little bit slower.' He has 5 or 6 different ways to get the same ball to land in the same place. That makes him unbelievably tricky. Add to that, sort of game awareness, a bit of a hoo-doo he has over somebody like Ben Stokes," added Butcher.

Record vs left-handers

In the same innings, Ashwin also became the first bowler to make 200 dismissals of left-handed batsmen. He claimed the record with the wicket of Broad. Ashwin also equalled Glenn McGrath's tally of 29 5-wicket hauls in Tests.

Gambhir hails Ashwin

"Ashwin again, world-class and very accurate, didn't give anything away. It is expected of him because now people expect him to take fifers on a very regular basis. Look at what he did against Steve Smith. You can take about what he has done in Indian conditions or pitches like what we are watching right now but his spell against Smith in Melbourne was probably the best any off-spinner has ever bowled in Australia. Those were some of the best spells bowled by any spinner in any format across any team.

Just the quality of bowling he showed was completely world-class. We always expected that once he comes back from Australia, in home conditions he is going to be even more dangerous. He has already got 2 five-wicket hauls in 3 innings in this series," said Gambhir in an interview on Sunday.

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