Bangalore, Sep 4: It is time to welcome India's new spin twins, R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. For a very long time, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were the lethal combination for India in Tests. Now, it is the new right and left bowling pair which is destroying the opposition batsmen on home turfs.
On Monday, Ashwin won his second successive Man-of-the-series award in Bangalore. He had piloted India to 2-0 clean sweep over New Zealand with 18 wickets. Last year he bamboozled West Indies batsmen in three Tests, taking 22 scalps.
Ojha was, in a way, overshadowed by Ashwin in the five recent Tests at home. The left-arm spinner was not far behind his colleague. He accounted for 33 batsmen in those five Tests they played together.
Between November 2011 and today, Ashwin and Ojha played five Tests as team's number one spin option and had 73 victims as a duo. Ashwin took 40 at 18.50 per wicket while Ojha's 33 came at 20.90 runs per dismissal.
Ashwin's economy in those Tests was little higher (2.85) than Ojha's 2.50. Ojha claimed a wicket every 50th ball whereas Ashwin's strike rate was impressive at 38.9.
In those 10 bowling innings as a pair, Ashwin bowled less overs (259.2, 42 maidens, 740 runs) than Ojha (275.3, 69 maidens, 690 runs).
Ashwin had five five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket return in a match. Ojha had three five-wicket hauls in playing with Ashwin in five Tests.
West Indies series in November, 2011 was Ashwin's debut. It was also the start of a new innings between the Chennai and Hyderabad slow bowlers.
In those five Tests together, India won four of them and one was draw against West Indies in Mumbai.
Speaking after the match on Monday, India captain MS Dhoni said he was very happy with his spinners having performed so well despite not getting turning tracks.
"One definite area where we would like ourselves is playing on turning tracks. That's something we didn't get in the series. But still the spinners bowled really well in Hyderabad and Bangalore. It's pleasing to see them fighting with the batsmen on tracks which really didn't help them much, especially in the first innings. Overall it was a good performance by them."
Dhoni gave his approval for Ashwin-Ojha combination. He lauded that they were complementing each other well and "hunting well together."
"The good thing is that both the spinners complement each other. When one is taking wickets, the other one keeps it tight so that the batsmen are not taking too many runs off them. They are hunting well together."
Here is how Ashwin and Ojha have fared together in five home Tests till date (Four matches have been won and one draw)
(Read as: Matches, Innings, Overs, Maidens, Runs, Wickets, Best bowling in an innings, Best bowling in a match, Average, Economy, Strike rate, 5-wicket hauls, 10-wicket hauls)