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Ashwin six-fer guides India to series win

Wisden India logo Wisden India 12/12/2016
<p>R Ashwin, unquestionably the best bowler in the world right now, took all four wickets to fall as England slid from 182 for 6 to 195 all out.</p> © AFP

R Ashwin, unquestionably the best bowler in the world right now, took all four wickets to fall as England slid from 182 for 6 to 195 all out.

It took India just eight overs and 32 minutes to wrap up the match and series on the final morning of the fourth Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. R Ashwin, unquestionably the best bowler in the world right now, took all four wickets to fall as England slid from 182 for 6 to 195 all out, handing India an emphatic innings-and-36-runs victory on Monday (December 12).

The only fight England seemed to be up for was the verbal kind. When Jimmy Anderson strode out, having been less than generous in his praise of Virat Kohli and India’s spinners, there were words said, with Ashwin at the forefront. Ravindra Jadeja, part of the fracas with Anderson at Trent Bridge two years ago, Kohli and Parthiv Patel also had their say before the umpires stepped in to restore decorum.

On the pitch, it was the meekest of surrenders against high-class spin. Jonny Bairstow played back to a carrom ball and was trapped in front. Once he went for 51, any hope of making India bat again also receded. Chris Woakes was bowled through the bat-pad gate in Ashwin’s next over, and Adil Rashid clipped one straight to KL Rahul at deep midwicket. 

And after the exchange of words, Anderson chipped Ashwin tamely to midwicket, where Umesh Yadav took the catch. Ashwin’s spell, either side of stumps on Sunday, was 9.3-2-15-6, with England losing their last six wickets for 15. As the players walked off, there were handshakes and presumably warmer words. For England, there was only the cold reality of a 3-0 thrashing, and a fourth defeat in six Asian Tests this winter.

Ashwin finished with match figures of 12 for 167, his third ten-wicket haul of the current home season and seventh in all. He now has 71 wickets at 21.32 for the calendar year. The lap of honour that followed, with the stands raucous in their acclaim, had been thoroughly earned.

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