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Ever since the heart-breaking loss against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2015, the Indian team has played 18 Tests and hasn’t lost a single one. Virat Kohli’s men have won a staggering 14 Tests and deservedly finished 2016 as the No. 1 Test team in the world. Two men who are undoubtedly the architects of this remarkable turnaround are Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Both players have been complimenting each other perfectly and are on their way to becoming one of the deadliest spin duos in the history of the game. The Saurashtra spinner made his debut in the fourth Test against England in 2012 and since then he has played in four of the five series that India has played at home. One can take a measure of his and Ashwin’s contribution from the fact that they have finished as the top two highest wicket-takers in all series, Ashwin being the No. 1 on all occasions.
Their juggernaut continued in this home season too and they deservedly finished 2016 in the top two positions in the ICC Rankings for Test Bowlers. In the first Test series of the year, that is in West Indies, Jadeja played only one Test but his partner took care of the bowling department by taking 17 wickets in four Tests, finishing the series as its highest wicket-taker. The duo finally reunited in the series against New Zealand and they were at their devastating best as India whitewashed the visitors 3-0. Ashwin took 27 wickets in three matches while Jadeja finished with 14 scalps in as many Tests. The duo then combined to take 54 of the 93 England wickets that fell in the recently concluded series. Ashwin took 28 wickets at an average of 30.25 while Jadeja claimed 26 wickets at 25.84.
Ashwin was already the world No. 1 bowler in Tests and Jadeja moved to the second spot after his heroics in the Chennai Test. The left-arm spinner recorded his best bowling performance in an innings by taking 7/48 in the second innings of the Chennai Test as Indian registered a miraculous win against England by an innings and 75 runs. The brilliant performance saw him earn 66 rankings points and brought him within eight points of Ravichandran Ashwin, who has 887 points.
This is the first time since 1974 that two India bowlers have occupied the top two spots in the bowlers rankings. The last pair to achieve this feat were the legendary spinners Bishan SinghBedi and Bhagwath Chandrasekhar.