R Ashwin picked three wickets in Vizag, all in England’s second innings, and now sits on 499 Test scalps. In the first innings he went wicketless and conceded 61 runs in 12 overs; this was the first instance since November 2019 that Ashwin had gone wicketless in a home innings where the opposition was bowled out.
Speaking on Jio Cinema, Pietersen said, “Ashwin was just chasing milestone. That’s why he didn’t bowl as well as he could have bowled. He did get it right on occasion. I thought he was way more threatening bowling wider outside off-stump around the wicket. I think he bowled over the wicket way too much to the right-handers. He can change bowling over-bowling around-bowling over more.”
When R Ashwin gets that 500th wicket, you’ll see him a lot more relaxed: Kevin Pietersen
After going wicketless in the first innings, Ashwin made an impact in the second innings with the wickets of Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, and Joe Root, helping India in their 106-run victory. Now he sits only one wicket away from 500 Test scalps, and, when he achieves it, he will become the second Indian after Anil Kumble and the ninth overall bowler to the feat.
Pietersen reckons once Ashwin gets his 500th Test scalp, he will feel a lot more relaxed and will get back to his best rhythm.
“I’m certainly never going to say that he hasn’t got it or the England batters have found him out. He is a tremendous bowler and he’s got some big breakthroughs. It is about the team; it’s not about the individual. He will want one more wicket and when he gets that maybe you’ll see him a lot more relaxed, the shoulder drops and I can just now get on with the game,” added Pietersen.
The third Test match starts on February 15 in Rajkot.