Ravichandran Ashwin’s 7-83, a fabulous fourth-innings effort in the first Test of the ongoing four-Test series against West Indies at Antigua’s North Sound, made him only the second Indian bowler to end up with seven scalps in an innings in the Caribbean Islands. The first Indian bowler was the famous leg-spinner Subhash Gupte who took 7 for 162 in India’s first Test played in Port of Spain in January 1953. The tall Indian off spinner’s feat came after 62 years; It was Gupte’s first Test in the West Indies in 1953 and so also Ashwin’s first Test in the West Indies in 2016; the difference though is that Ashwin’s endeavour resulted in his team winning the Test in a resounding manner, while Gupte’s performance forced a draw. By his thoughtful bowling of finger spin, Ashwin has filled up one lacuna that showed up in his excellent Test match career; he took 5 plus wickets in an innings for the first time outside of Asia and marched into the 7-plus-wickets in an innings club in the West Indies. There are only 24 instances of bowlers taking 7 wickets in a Test match innings in the West Indies and England seamer Angus Fraser has done it twice (8 for 75 at Bridgetown in 1993-94 and 8 for 53 at Port of Spain in1997-98). The West Indies’ Corey Collymore has also done it twice ( 7 for 57 against Sri Lanka in 2003 at Kingston and 7 for 78 against Pakistan in 2005 at Kingston) Other Indians who have excellent figures are Ishant Sharma (6 for 55, Bridgetown, 2011), Anil Kumble (6 for 78, Kingston, 2006), Kapil Dev (6 for 84, Kingston), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (6 for 120, Port of Spain,1975-76). There are 19 more instances of Indians taking five wickets in an innings, with off spinner Harbhajan Singh doing it three times. Gupte’s 7 (1st Innings) Port of Spain, January 1953: Jeff Stollmeyer, Frank Worrell,Everton Weekes, Bruce Pairaudeau, Gerry Gomez, Frank King and Alf Valentine
Ashwin’s 7 (2nd innings) North Sound, Antigua, July 2016: Rajendra Chandrika, Devendra Bishoo,Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel.