ANI Photo | In contrasting 100th Tests, Ashwin scores 10/10, Bairstow disappoints

A different story unfolded for Ravichandran Ashwin and Jonny Bairstow who played their 100th Test but walked out of the scenic HPCA Stadium with contrasting performances.
When a player arrives at a landmark moment in their career, they usually try to make it memorable by producing an innings that come once in a lifetime like Joe Root scoring 218 against India in his 100th Test in 2021 or making an impression with the ball like Australia’s iconic spinner Shane Warne who ended his 100th Test with figures of 6/161 against South Africa in 2002.
India’s veteran off-spinner who walked in to feature in his 100th Test embraced the once-in-a-lifetime moment by making England batters dance to his tune with each move depending on the variation that he brought into play.
Even though he failed to put runs on the board with his bat following his five-ball duck, but made it a memorable outing with the ball.
Ashwin ended the match with a nine-wicket haul to his name which included a five-for in the second innings. With his scintillating performance, Ashwin ended the series with the most number of wickets – 26.
Ashwin went past iconic spinner Anil Kumble to become the Indian bowler with the most five-wicket hauls in Test cricket – 36. The 37-year-old is the first player to bag a five-wicket haul in his debut as well as in his 100th Test.
The crafty off-spinner is the fourth bowler to claim a five-for in his 100th Test. Before him, the iconic spin trio of Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Muttiah Muralitharan achieved the feat. He ended the Test with figures of 9/128.
On the other hand, Bairstow had the perfect opportunity to redeem himself and repay the trust that was entrusted to him by the skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum.
However, his perfect moment didn’t pan out the way he and the English fans would have hoped for.
Everybody expected Bairstow to bring out the same player who showed his true potential during Stokes’ first six matches as the captain of the Test team. He amassed four centuries and struck 681 runs at a rate of 96.59, and an average of 75.66.
However, the wicketkeeper batter failed against India’s spin challenge as he posted scores of 29(18) and 2(10). He ended the series on a disappointing note as he scored 238 runs at an average of 23.80.
On both occasions, India’s ‘Chinaman’ spinner Kuldeep Yadav produced magic leaving Bairstow completely clueless. In the second innings, he deceived Bairstow with a sharp delivery which turned straight into the right-handed batter pinning him in front of the stumps.
While in the first innings, he showed promise with a brisk knock but got outplayed by Kuldeep’s googly.
Bairstow’s emotions came up as on both occasions he walked back with hints of frustration visibly evident on his face.
While Ashwin shone with the ball, Bairstow failed to live up to what could have been a defining moment for him in the series. (ANI)

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