New Delhi: Offspinner R Ashwin has surpassed former India captain Anil Kumble as the leading wicket-taker for India in a four-Test series. Ashwin claimed Phillip Hughes lbw for 6 on Sunday at the Feroz Shah Kotla as his 28th wicket of Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and finished with 29 for the series by taking out Peter Siddle as Australia were bowled out for 164 to set India a target of 155.
The previous record of 27 had been achieved by Kumble against Australia too, during the 2004-05 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which saw Australia conquer the final frontier. Ashwin finished the series with 29 victims at an average of 20.10 and strike-rate of 49.40. Fittingly, he achieved the landmark at the venue where Kumble took the most wickets in Tests, and the site of his historic ten-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999.
Ashwin started the series with a bag, claiming 12 wickets at home in Chennai as India took the first Test; in Hyderabad, he added six wickets with 5 for 63 in the second innings; Mohali was a quite affair for Ashwin, who claimed four wickets as India took the series 3-0; on a turning Feroz Shah Kotla track, he grabbed 5 for 57 in the first innings before taking his sixth wicket of the match on the third morning to claim the record. Ashwin's final match figures were 7 for 112.
Nine years ago, Kumble took 27 wickets at an average of 25.37 and strike-rate of 43.8, with three five-wicket hauls and one ten-for. In the first Test in Bangalore which Australia won by 217 runs, Kumble took five wickets; in the draw in Chennai he was Man of the Match for figures of 7 for 48 and 6 for 133; three wickets followed in the crushing defeat in Nagpur which cost India the series; and in the dead rubber on a minefield in Mumbai, Kumble snared 5 for 90 and 1 for 5.
The most wickets in a series by an Indian bowler are the 35 taken by another spinner, BS Chandrasekhar, but that was in a five-match contest. Harbhajan Singh famously took 32 wickets in three Tests against Australia in 2000-01.