The importance of the lower order adding depth to the Indian batting, is not lost on captain Virat Kohli. It was once again on display at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground on Friday with R Ashwin contributing a valuable half-century to lift the Indian score after they lost the two centurions of the innings, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, in the first session of play. (IND v SL UPDATES)
Unbeaten on 47 at lunch, Ashwin came out and completed his half-century with a six off Rangana Herath, his 11th half-century in Tests. In the process, he completed 2000 runs in Test cricket, among the fastest to the double of 2000 runs and 200 wickets. (IND v SL SCORECARD)
Having taken 51 Tests to reach the feat, he is fourth fastest in the list behind Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Kapil Dev.
The 30-year old is the fastest to complete the double of 2000 runs and 250 wickets in Tests. New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee, who had got there in his 54th Test match, held the previous record.
In fact, Ravichandran Ashwin is the second fastest Indian to reach this landmark after Kapil Dev, who achieved this milestone in 50th Test match.
He was out the next ball 54 (92 balls, five fours and one six).
It has been a massive advantage for the Indian team to have their main spinner with such good batting ability. In the first Test at Galle too, Ashwin had played a valuable hand of 47. Ashwin has underlined his batting potential with four centuries and it was no surprise that captain Virat Kohli prefers him at No 6, sending him ahead of all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
The Tamil Nadu player’s advantage is he gets the runs quickly without needing to risk the big shots, relying on pure timing and placements.
With this achievement, Ravicahndran Ashiwn is the fourth Indian and 19th all-rounder overall to complete a double of 2000 runs and 200 wickets in Tests.
(With inputs from S. Pervez Qaiser)