Nagpur: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin became the fastest bowler to reach the milestone of 300 Test wickets today in his 54th match, breaking Dennis Lillee's record during India's win over Sri Lanka in the second Test.
Australian fast bowling legend Lillee had reached the milestone in 56 Test matches way back in 1981 and it took 36 years for another bowler to eclipse the record. Ashwin is also ahead of some of the illustrious names, who had completed the milestone in quick time.
Among them are Muttiah Muralitharan (58 Tests), Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall and Dale Steyn (61 Tests each).
Ashwin is only the fifth Indian bowler to complete a career 300 wickets in Test cricket behind Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434), Harbhajan Singh (417) and Zaheer Khan (311).
The illustrious trio of Bishan Singh Bedi (266), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (242) and Erapalli Prasanna (189) are way behind Ashwin.
"I really hope I can go on to double these 300 wickets, I have only played 50 Tests. It's not easy bowling spin, it looks like you're just ambling up. But there's a lot behind it. We've bowled a lot of overs, me and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja). And the break has helped, I'm a lot more fresher now comparatively," Ashwin said.
"The carom ball was a good ball, I haven't bowled many of those in the last 24 months," he said referring to the ball with which he got his milestone.
"I have worked on different releases for it and now that we are traveling, I think I needed that extra bit. It has been a longer break than I've been used to over the last few years. But I did have a good stint in Worcester and I learnt a lot of things. As you can see, I've worked on different loadings, different actions. It's also helped my patience, wickets haven't come quickly."
Ashwin had started bowling in the Sri Lankan second innings with 296 wickets to his name and quickly ran through the lower middle-order to reach the milestone.
His 300th victim was Lahiru Gamage who was bowled by a doosra. Ashwin has so far maintained a healthy average of 25.15 runs per wicket.