Ravichandran Ashwin showcased his mastery over Ben Stokes once again, achieving a milestone by dismissing the England captain for the 12th time in Test cricket. This remarkable feat established a new record for the most dismissals of Stokes by any bowler in the format. With England struggling at 140 for four and trailing India by 190 runs in the first innings, Stokes entered the crease under significant pressure.
In an intriguing battle of tactics, Ravichandran Ashwin executed a clever plan against Stokes. He initiated the assault with a series of quick deliveries angled into the left-hander, forcing the English captain to remain on the back foot. After establishing Stokes’ vulnerability, Ashwin tactically varied his delivery, luring him with a beautifully tossed-up ball on the middle stump.
The delivery gripped and turned sharply past Stokes’ outside edge, crashing into the off-stump. Bn Stokes, typically known for his aggressive stance, adopted an uncharacteristically defensive approach upon entering the crease. While his steadfast defence was commendable, it inadvertently played into the hands of Ravichandran Ashwin, his long-standing adversary.
Here is the video of the dismissal:
📽️ R Ashwin to Ben Stokes
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 27, 2024
By allowing the off-spinner to maintain relentless pressure with his spin, Stokes unintentionally made a crucial error. Surviving against a spinner of Ashwin’s caliber is no easy feat, and Stokes’ defensive strategy ultimately led to his downfall.
For Ashwin, dismissing Stokes once again underscored his skill and cricketing acumen. Each encounter between the two represents a battle of wits, with Ashwin consistently emerging victorious. Interestingly, Stokes was previously tied with David Warner as the batter Ashwin had dismissed the most.
In their 25 innings facing each other, Ashwin has bowled 623 deliveries to Stokes, conceding 232 runs while claiming 12 dismissals. Stokes’ average against the Indian off-spinner stands at just 19.33, highlighting the persistent challenges he faces against Ashwin’s bowling prowess.