Photo: Nottinghamshire CCC/Twitter

Ravichandran Ashwin was the talk of the town this week at the English County Championship, as he dazzled with both bat and ball while playing for Nottinghamshire against last season’s runners up Somerset in Taunton.

Although playing in just his second County Championship game for Nottinghamshire, the off-spinner got into his groove immediately as he dismissed the Somerset opener Tom Abell in his very first spell. Following that dismissal, Ashwin kept the pressure on the opposition with his disciplined stump to stump bowling, delivering nearly 35 overs in the first innings at an economy of under 2.7.

The spinner, who captains Kings XI Punjab in the VIVO Indian Premier League, then came back to bowl at the Somerset tail, picking up all-rounder Lewis Gregory and spinner Jack Leach. Hailed as “one of the best spinners in the world” by Somerset coach Jason Kerr, Ashwin was impressive with the bat as well, coming into bat at six and scoring a vital 23 runs. Ashwin’s wicket triggered a Nottinghamshire collapse as the tail only managed to add five runs to the team total, being bundled out for 241.

Trailing by 85 runs after the first innings, the Nottinghamshire captain decided to hand the new ball to the only International spinner of the team, and Ashwin delivered immediately by dismissing opening batsman Tim Groenewald in the very first over. He continued his brilliant vein on form, getting two more of top-order, nabbing the wickets of Abell and James Hildreth to reduce Somerset to 70/3.

He formed a brilliant partnership with left-arm spinner Liam Patterson-White, as the duo bowled 54 off the 60 overs in the second innings. Patterson-White picked up five wickets in the second innings, accounting for most of the tailenders. Ashwin picked the remaining wickets, dismissing wicketkeeper Steven Davies and Jamie Overton, who was the joint second highest scorer for Somerset in the second innings.

Needing a target of 255, Nottinghamshire were 21/2 when Ashwin walked in to bat with the pitch turning square. The KXIP player remained resolute against the turning ball, holding fort from one end despite wickets tumbling on the other side. Ashwin scored a fighting 41 on a difficult pitch, before Leach got the better of him to reduce the chasing side to 95/6. The wicket again triggered a collapse, as Nottinghamshire were bundled out for 122, despite a heroic performance by Ashwin with bat and ball.