India vs Australia 2018: If Cheteshwar Pujara was the chief architect of India’s historic win over Australia in Adelaide, it was off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who quietly played the role of supporting hero to perfection in the series opener. Pujara played handsome knocks of 123 and 71 to provide the lay a strong foundation for the visitors. Whereas, Ashwin played his part to perfection as he scalped six wickets in the match that jolted the hosts. He also picked up the last Australian wicket to complete the formalities for the visitors in Adelaide.
By picking up the wicket of pacer Josh Hazlewood in the 120th over – Ashwin (16 times) became the third-best bowler after spin legends – Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan to pick up the final opposition wicket to ensure India’s victory. Warne has picked up the final wicket the most number of times – 22, while the world’s highest wicket-taker Muralitharan has taken the last opposition wicket to ensure his team’s win – 18 times.
Ashwin is ahead of recently-retired Sri Lankan stalwart Rangana Herath (14 times) and veteran Pakistan pacer Waqar Younis (13 times) in the elite club.
In the first Test, things went too close for comfort for the tourists as Nathan Lyon (38 not out) and Hazlewood (13) put on 42 runs for the last wicket and frustrated the Indian bowling. The sparse crowd at Adelaide Oval cheered every single as the duo edged closer and the odd boundary didn’t help matters.
Finally, things came to a close as Ashwin had Hazlewood caught at second slip in the 120th over to register India’s sixth Test win on Australian soil.
Recently in the latest ICC Test rankings for bowlers, Ashwin moved up one spot ahead of Aussie pacer Pat Cummins, who dropped down to No. 7.
The Adelaide win was India’s first in Down Under since 2008. Interestingly, it was the first time India won the opening Test of a series in Australia in 70 years.. Chasing 323, the hosts were bowled out for 291 in 119.5 overs shortly before tea on day five with Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami taking three wickets each for a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.