KANPUR: India’s spinners thrived on a day three track to blow away New Zealand’s top order and haul the hosts back into contention by reducing the visitors to 238 for five at lunch in the first test on Saturday.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja claimed two wickets apiece in the morning session as New Zealand’s first innings mirrored that of their hosts, who were 154-1 before being dismissed for 318.
Mitchell Santner, who had claimed three wickets with his left-arm spin on Thursday, was batting on 28 at the break. BJ Watling was on three at the other end with New Zealand trailing India by 80 runs at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium.
Home captain Virat Kohli opted for spin from both ends and New Zealand were soon robbed of the slight advantage they held after resuming on 152-1, seeking to rediscover their rhythm after the final session of the second day was washed out.
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 Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson.
Jadeja struck in the next over, dismissing Ross Taylor leg-before 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) helped stop the rot when he put on 49 with Santner but fell to a debatable leg before decision after Jadeja trapped him with a dipping delivery which may have been missing the off-stump. (Editing by John O’Brien)