Chennai, February 15: R Ashwin has always been a handy batsman, right from the domestic level. His four Test hundreds will vouch that Ashwin is no slouch with the bat in the highest level either.
But however, the batting of Ashwin had gone down in the last couple of years, and at one point it even came back to question his place in the side. It did not help his cause much that Ravindra Jadeja improved his batting leaps and bounds in the last couple of years.
Often, Jadeja and some other times Kuldeep Yadav was rated as India’s No 1 spinner. It could have been hurting for someone who has more than 350 Test wickets to get talked down for his batting even while the slump was genuine and lasted more than his liking.
But it seemed that doughty innings in the third Test at Sydney against Australia seemed to have rejuvenated the batsman in him. The partnership of Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari had earned India a draw in the SCG.
In that circumstances it was quite evident that Ashwin valued his 5th Test hundred on Monday (February 15) quite immensely, showcasing his glee quite passionately by removing his helmet and punching the air. It could have been a double delight for him as his fifth Test hundred came at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, his home venue.
Ashwin the bowler too had made a mark in the second Test against England, taking five wickets in the first innings to bundle out the visitors for a mere 134. Now, Ashwin has a hundred and a five-wicket haul in the Test three times, two less than leader Ian Botham and one more than Sir Gary Sobers, Mushtaq Mohammad, Jacques Kallis, and Shakib Al Hasan.
This was Ashwin’s third hundred in the No 8 slot in Test cricket and equaled Kamran Akmal’s three hundreds and the TN cricketer is now one behind former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori, who made 4 hundreds at No 8 position.