Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday surpassed former spinner Harbhajan Singh‘s record as the third-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket. The off spinner dismissed New Zealand’s Tom Latham during the ongoing Kanpur Test to notch his 418th scalp in the longest format.  

Ashwin equalled Harbhajan’s tally on Sunday with the dismissal of Latham’s opening partner Will Young, who waited too long before asking the umpires to review an LBW decision that replays showed was incorrect. 

Ashwin flighted the delivery that kept low and hit Young on the front pad. The impact was around middle and the ball was missing leg stump. However, some communication gap with non-striker Tom Latham cost Young (2) his wicket.

Chasing an imposing target of 284, New Zealand finished Day 4 at 4/1. The Kiwis were 125/4 at Tea on the fifth and final day, needing 159 runs from 31.5 overs. 

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Ashwin finished with a three-wicket haul in the first innings. His 42.3 overs included 10 maidens. 

Harbhajan, aka ‘The Turbanator’, took 417 wickets in 103 Test matches at an average of 32.46 and a strike rate of 68.5 delieries per wicket. Ashwin’s 418th wicket came in his 80th Test, with the 35-year-old averaging 24.53 runs and 52.7 deliveries per wicket. 

The ‘Carrom Ball’ pioneer is behind only legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev (434) and spin great Anil Kumble (619) in the list of most Test wickets for India.

The former Chennai Super Kings player also has an opportunity to equal Anil Kumble’s tally of a most 10-wicket haul for India in Test cricket. Ashwin (9) is just one behind Kumble (10) and if he picks six more wickets in the ongoing Test, the feat will be achieved. 

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Meanwhile, debutant Shreyas Iyer showed his ice-cool temperament under pressure to stand tall with a fine half-century which placed India in a commanding position as they set up a stiff victory target of 284 for New Zealand on the fourth day of the opening Test. 

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India declared at 234 for 7 for an overall lead of 283 and gave the Black Caps four tricky overs to face under fading light. 

The highest ever fourth innings chase by a visiting team in India is 276 by Viv Richards’ West Indies against the Dilip Vengsarkar-led India in 1987 at the Feroz Shah Kotla, which placed statistics on the home team’s side.