Kanpur: 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 on Saturday.
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.
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 Tom 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 sliding down the leg side, but there was no such ambiguity when Ashwin clean 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 hattrick but claimed a third wicket of the over when he dismissed Trent Boult.
Ashwin caught B.J. Watling (21) off his own bowling to end New Zealand’s resistance and ensure the tourists will face the daunting task of batting in the fourth innings on a track offering significant spin. Reuters