Ashwin's rare feat: first spinner in over 100 years to take a wicket off the first ball in the first innings

Ashwin's rare feat: first spinner in over 100 years to take a wicket off the first ball in the first innings


Ishant Sharma’s face contorted, flashing emotion from rage to triumph as his full delivery sneaked under the bat of Dan Lawrence, trapping the England batsman leg before in the Chennai Test on Monday. The 32-year-old fast bowler then broke into a grin, relief and joy etched on the face as teammates converged to celebrate his 300th Test wicket.

Veteran India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday became the first spinner in over 100 years of Test cricket to earn the distinction of dismissing a batsman off the very first ball of an innings.

On day four of the first Test against England, Ashwin sent back England opener Rory Burns off the very first ball of the second innings, caught by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips, to become only the third spinner in the 134 year history of the game to earn that rare distinction.

 The last time it happened was when South African leg spinner Bert Vogler dimissed England's Tom Hayward in a Test match at the Oval in 1907. It was the first ball of the match.

How difficult has it been to be Ishant Sharma? India has always had batting prodigies and quality spinners, but unearthing natural fast bowlers has been rare. Among the pace tribe, we have a few really skillful ones who could bowl real quick but Ishant probably is the first who can be termed a complete package.

In the first home Test of the 2008-09 series against Australia, also at Bengaluru in Kumble’s last series, Ishant again made an impact with seven wickets.

The first spinner to achieve the feat was Yorkshire left-arm spinner Bobby Peel during an Ashes Test match in 1888.

 "First innings became such a toil for us that we kept hoping that somehow a wicket comes along. So when I got one off the first ball in the second innings, I was so happy. Once I came in, the team management told me that this has happened after 100 years," Ashwin told Ishant Sharma on bcci.tv. But I didn't know that it was a record.

"I should thank Virat because I knew that you (Ishant) were supposed to bowl but Virat told me that you go ahead and bowl the first over," said the off-spinner, who now has 386 wickets from 75 Tests.