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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Ravichandran Ashwin marvels at India's Test rise since last visit to Sri Lanka

After losing first Test in 2015, India responded to win the series and embark on a run of results that returned them to the top of the rankings.

Ravichandran Ashwin takes part in a practice session at ahead of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka. Ishara S Kodikara / AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin takes part in a practice session at ahead of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka. Ishara S Kodikara / AFP

Ravichandran Ashwin, who will play his 50th Test against Sri Lanka this week, has hailed India's rebuilding effort to become the No 1 ranked Test side in the world.

Ashwin, 30, will be one of India's key players in the match starting in Galle on Wednesday, the first of three Tests, and he believes life has come full circle for Virat Kohli's side since their last tour of Sri Lanka in 2015. India lost the Galle Test then but bounced back to beat the hosts 2-1. That spurred them on to regain their No 1 Test status a year later.

"In 2015 I think we were sandwiched in the middle of a leadership takeover. Virat had just taken over in Australia and we came here having played one Test in Bangladesh," Ashwin said.

"We had set ourselves a lot of goals for each other and I would say we have achieved them and come out with flying colours over the last couple of years as a group.

"We have produced a lot of good cricketers. Some young cricketers have come in and put their hands up and some others have excelled really. That includes me, (Ravindra) Jadeja, Puji (Cheteshwar Pujara).

"Sometimes I feel that even good cricketers lose out in this particular team because of the quality we have in the dressing room."

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Ashwin became the fastest bowler to take 250 Test wickets when he reached the milestone in a one-off match against Bangladesh in Hyderabad in February, his 45th Test.

Looking ahead to his 50th appearance since his debut in 2011 against the West Indies, Ashwin said Sri Lanka would always be special after he resurrected his career there in 2015.

"To come back to a place where I did really well last time in 2015 is like a dream come true, because it was some sort of a momentous occasion for me then because I was on the way back into the Test side," he said.

"It brings back a lot of good memories, coming back to the same venue. I think every Test match a blessing from here on."

The bowling all-rounder has scored 1,903 runs and bagged 275 wickets in 49 Tests. He has scored four centuries and picked 25 five-wicket hauls.

* Agence France-Presse