Visakhapatnam: Ravichandran Ashwin is back to torment the batsmen in Test cricket after being ignored for selection in India’s previous tour. The premier spinner once again proved his worth in home conditions, in the ongoing Test against South Africa.

Now, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner has achieved a feat which no other tweaker has managed since 2011. He has dominated with the new ball, which is often the weapon of the fast bowlers.

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Ashwin took two wickets on the second day of the first Test against the Proteas in Visakhapatnam on Thursday (October 3). The 33-year-old has so far taken 71 Test wickets with the new ball at an average of 23.1. He features in the top-five list of most wickets taken by bowlers with the new ball within the first 20 overs, since 2011.

It is a known fact that Ashwin loves to bowl with the new cherry. Captain MS Dhoni was the first to hand him the new ball to trouble the batsmen. And he has not looked back since then. He continues to bamboozle batsmen.

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When India whitewashed the West Indies 2-0 recently, Ashwin was forced to warm the benches as skipper Virat Kohli and the team management preferred to go with Ravindra Jadeja.

Now, in Indian conditions, Ashwin and Jadeja are reunited to exploit spinning tracks.

Ashwin is the only spinner in the top-five list of bowlers with most wickets with the new ball in the opening 20 overs, since 2011 (the year Ashwin made his Test debut). The other four are all fast bowlers – Stuart Broad (107 wickets), James Anderson (106), Vernon Philander (76) and Trent Boult (75).

With India and South Africa to be involved in three Tests for the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy, Ashwin will be India’s main spin weapon. New or old ball, Ashwin is set to rattle the visitors.

Most Test wickets with the new ball since Ashwin’s debut in 2011

107 – Stuart Broad (England), average 25.9

106 – James Anderson (England), average 23.9

76 – Vernon Philander (South Africa), average 21.1

75 – Trent Boult (New Zealand), average 30.0

71 – Ravichandran Ashwin (India), average 23.1

Note: Stats for the first new ball, in first 20 overs of the innings