Indore, Oct 10 (IANS) Star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin produced an excellent bowling performance to give India the upper hand at tea on Day Three of the third Test against New Zealand at the Holkar Cricket Stadium here on Monday.
Ashwin, who had given India the breakthrough by trapping opener Tom Latham leg before in the morning session, snared three more Kiwi batsmen in the post-lunch period to return figures of 4/65.
For New Zealand, James Neesham (37 batting) and Mitchell Santner (6 batting) were at the crease when the teams went in for tea.
The visitors were at 216/6 in their first innings at the break. New Zealand now trail India’s first innings total of 557/5 by 341 runs.
Apart from Ashwin, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the only other successful bowler among the Indians with figures of 1/48.
Although Indian pacers Mohammad Shami (0/32) and Umesh Yadav (0/55) did not get any wickets, they gave a good account of themselves.
Shami used the conditions to good effect and troubled the Kiwi batsmen on several occasions.
With the wicket keeping slow and low, the Kiwi batsmen had a tough time negotiating the movement and bounce of the pitch.
The Indians wrested the upper hand early on in the post-lunch session when New Zealand lost three wickets in four overs.
Ashwin picked up his second wicket when Kane WIlliamson (8) dragged the ball onto his stumps while attempting a cut.
The off-spinner then sent Ross Taylor (0) back to the pavilion in his very next over before a straight drive by Luke Ronchi deflected off his hand to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end and catch Martin Guptill (72) out of his crease.
The Chennai spinner then picked up his fourth wicket when Ajinkya Rahane showed some excellent fielding at first slip to send back Ronchi (0).
Bradley-John Watling (23) and Neesham then tried to bring the Kiwi innings back on track with a 53-run partnership.
But Jadeja found Watling’s outside edge with a delivery that turned away sharply after pitching to put the visitors into further trouble just before the tea break.
Earlier, New Zealand reached 125/1 at lunch, losing only the wicket of opener Tom Latham.
Resuming the day at 28 for no loss, the visitors were provided a brilliant start by the openers — Latham (53) and Martin Guptill (59 batting) — who raised 118 runs before being separated.
For the hosts, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin provided the vital breakthrough by getting Lathan plumb in front. Skipper Kane Williamson (3 batting) then joined Guptill in the middle as the umpires called for lunch.
In their first innings, India declared at 557 for 5, thanks to a double ton by skipper Virat Kohli (211) and 188 from Ajinkya Rahane.
New Zealand (1st innings): 216/6 (Martin Guptill 72, James Neesham 37 batting; Ravichandran Ashwin 4/65) vs India (1st innings): 557/5.