In the Indian team as a premier spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin shone with both bat and ball on Day Four of the final Test against Australia on Friday. He first slapped a fifty and returned to claim 4 wickets even as his side faced the prospect of chasing a record target at Sydney Cricket Ground. (Scorecard)
On a track that offered assistance to turn and bounce, Ashwin first came out to bat and handled the pressure well. Replacing a well-set captain Virat Kohli who hit 147 but fell in the fifth over of the day, the 28-year-old anchored himself at one end. Australia tried pace and bounce but while some success came from the other end - Wriddhiham Saha falling for 35, Ashwin continued his resistance.
What helped his cause with the bat was the company of an equally resistant Bhuvneshwar Kumar who hit 30. The two stitched together a crucial eighth-wicket partnership of 65 runs.
While Ashwin fell soon after completing his fourth Test fifty - India eventually falling 97 short of the 1st innings target, he returned to deliver an early blow with the ball. An attacking Kohli offered him the second over and Ashwin immediately forced an edge off David Warner's bat. He then removed the dangerous Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh.
His efforts though failed to stop Aussies from seizing control and the hosts finished the day with a lead of 348. The highest fourth innings successful chase at this venue is 288.