KANPUR, India (Reuters) – Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin made the most of a turning pitch in Kanpur to rip through New Zealand as India racked up a commanding 215-run lead on day three of the first test yesterday.
Jadeja claimed his fifth five-wicket haul in tests and Ashwin dismissed four frontline batsmen as New Zealand squandered a strong start, losing their last five wickets for seven runs to be all out for 262 and concede a 56-run first-innings lead. India scored freely to consolidate their position in the first match of the three-test series, reaching 159 for one at stumps with Murali Vijay (64) and Cheteshwar Pujara (50) at the crease.
Opener Lokesh Rahul (38) fell to Ish Sodhi just before tea but Vijay and Pujara registered their second individual fifties of the match.
The pair added 107 runs for the second wicket and never looked in trouble against New Zealand’s three-pronged spin attack, cutting with control and pulling with panache.
“The four wickets that fell in the morning session was the real game-changer,” Jadeja told reporters.
“On a turning track, whenever a new batsman walks in and discovers footmarks, it normally unsettles him. He can’t defend confidently.
“All we needed was one wicket and luckily in the morning, Ashwin got that lbw (against Tom Latham) and wickets started tumbling.”
Home captain Virat Kohli opted for spin from both ends to start the third day and New Zealand were soon robbed of the slight advantage they held after resuming on 152 for one in reply to India’s 318.
Off-spinner Ashwin provided the breakthrough by drifting one into Latham’s (58) front pad for an lbw decision to end the left-hander’s 124-run partnership with his captain Kane Williamson.
Jadeja struck in the next over, dismissing Ross Taylor lbw for a duck with a delivery that appeared to be sliding down the leg side, but there was no such doubt when Ashwin bowled Williamson (75) with a ripper three overs later.
India’s premier spinner pitched it slightly short and considerably outside the off-stump, prompting Williamson to rock back in an attempt to punch it through the covers but the ball spun spitefully to breach the right-hander’s defence.
Luke Ronchi (38) added 49 with Mitchell Santner (32) but fell to a debatable leg before decision after Jadeja trapped him with a dipping delivery which may have been missing off-stump.
Jadeja dismissed Mark Craig and Sodhi off successive deliveries. The left-arm spinner could not complete a hat-trick but claimed a third wicket of the over when he dismissed Trent Boult.
Ashwin caught BJ Watling (21) off his own bowling to end New Zealand’s resistance.
“It was a tough day,” Watling told reporters.
“There was definitely a bit more turn. They have two quality spin bowlers and we lost wickets in clumps.
“We talked about that, we know it’s tough to start in these conditions and we’ve definitely got to do that better in our second innings.”
India 1st innings 318 (M. Vijay 65, C. Pujara 62)
New Zealand 1st innings (Overnight: 152-1)
M. Guptill lbw b U. Yadav 21
T. Latham lbw b R. Ashwin 58
K. Williamson b R. Ashwin 75
R. Taylor lbw b Jadeja 0
L. Ronchi lbw b Jadeja 38
M. Santner c Saha b R. Ashwin 32
B. Watling c&b R. Ashwin 21
M. Craig lbw b Jadeja 2
I. Sodhi lbw b Jadeja 0
T. Boult c Ro. Sharma b Jadeja 0
N. Wagner not out 0
Extras (b-8 lb-5 nb-2) 15
Total (all out, 95.5 overs) 262
Fall of wickets: 1-35 M. Guptill,2-159 T. Latham,3-160 R. Taylor,4-170 K. Williamson,5-219 L. Ronchi,6-255 M. Santner,7-258 M. Craig,8-258 I. Sodhi,9-258 T. Boult,10-262 B. Watling
Bowling M. Shami 11 – 1 – 35 – 0 U. Yadav 15 – 5 – 33 – 1 R. Jadeja 34 – 7 – 73 – 5(nb-2) R. Ashwin 30.5 – 7 – 93 – 4 M. Vijay 4 – 0 – 10 – 0 Ro. Sharma 1 – 0 – 5 – 0
India 2nd innings
L. Rahul c Taylor b Sodhi 38
M. Vijay not out 64
C. Pujara not out 50
Extras (lb-7) 7
Total (for 1 wickets, 47 overs) 159
Fall of wickets: 1-52 L. Rahul
To bat: V. Kohli, A. Rahane, R. Sharma, R. Ashwin, W. Saha, R. Jadeja, U. Yadav, M. Shami
Bowling T. Boult 5 – 0 – 11 – 0 M. Santner 13 – 5 – 33 – 0 M. Craig 11 – 1 – 48 – 0 N. Wagner 8 – 3 – 17 – 0 I. Sodhi 7 – 2 – 29 – 1 M. Guptill 3 – 0 – 14 – 0 Referees Umpire: Richard Kettleborough Umpire: Rod Tucker TV umpire: Anil Chaudhary Match referee: David Boon