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Kiwis grounded: Visitors 140/5 as Ravichandran Ashwin grabs three

Mumbai, December 5

India’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin turned the heat on New Zealand with three quick blows as the visitors, chasing an impossible target of 540, were tottering at 140/5 on Day 3 of the second and final Test.

Daryl Mitchell (60 off 92 balls) and Henry Nicholls (36 batting) added 73 runs for the fourth wicket, proving that run-scoring is possible on this wicket if you have the skill and patience, but in all likelihood the match will finish early on Day 4.

Ashwin, who had figures of 3/27, looked increasingly menacing with every passing over and it would be tough to bat the day out against him and the two other spinners, Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav.

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What will hurt New Zealand the most is the fact that in this game, Ajaz Patel took 14 wickets but was let down by poor bowling and batting, especially in the first innings.

The tall Mitchell at least tried to use his reach to counter Ashwin and also attack Yadav and Patel. But he seemed to be the last man standing, trying to delay the inevitable, before a rush of blood saw him giving a catch at deep extra-cover. Tom Blundell then perished with a suicidal run-out while going for a non-existent single.

Earlier, Ashwin, who again got the new ball, had got into the act by removing skipper Tom Latham with an angled delivery while Will Young gave a bat-pad catch to forward short-leg. Ross Taylor, who has been a walking wicket, failed miserably in his attempt to slog-sweep the wily off-spinner.

Declaration

India declared their second innings at 276/7 after Axar Patel hit four sixes and three fours in his 41 off 26 balls to prop up the innings towards the end. Their confidence already shattered, the New Zealand bowlers conceded as many as 25 fours and 11 sixes in the 70 overs they bowled in the second innings. In fact, all Indian batters save Wriddhiman Saha hit at least one six. — PTI

Virat Kohli reacts after the spider cam stopped working on the third day. PTI

Headache for Dravid

Even if India score a facile win tomorrow, there will be some issues that would need coach Rahul Dravid’s urgent attention. The wobbly middle-order would keep him worried going into the South Africa series, which begins on December 17 with the first Test. Ajinkya Rahane failed in the first Test and had to be dropped for the second due to a hamstring niggle. Cheteshwar Pujara has had three bad innings and one in which he looked better, but that was after the pressure was released by India’s bowlers after they bowled New Zealand out for 62. Skipper Virat Kohli, whose primary aim of not enforcing the follow-on was to get some batting practice, also didn’t look confident during a scratchy innings of 36 off 84 balls.

Scoreboard

India 1st innings 325

New Zealand 1st innings 62

India 2nd innings (overnight 69/0)

M Agarwal c Young b Patel 62

C Pujara c Taylor b Patel 47

S Gill c Latham b Ravindra 47

V Kohli b Ravindra 36

S Iyer st Blundell b Patel 14

W Saha c Jamieson b Ravindra 13

A Patel not out 41

J Yadav c amp; b Patel 6

Extras: (b 6, lb 3, nb 1) 10

Total: (7 wickets, 70 overs) 276 decl

FOW: 1-107, 2-115, 3-197, 4-211,

5-217, 6-238, 7-276

Bowling O M R W

Tim Southee 13 2 31 0

Ajaz Patel 26 3 106 4

Kyle Jamieson 8 2 15 0

William Somerville 10 0 59 0

Rachin Ravindra 13 2 56 3

New Zealand 2nd innings

T Latham lbw b Ashwin 6

W Young c sub (S Yadav) b Ashwin 20

D Mitchell c Yadav b Patel 60

R Taylor c Pujara b Ashwin 6

H Nicholls not out 36

T Blundell run out Saha 0

R Ravindra not out 2

Extras: (b 8, lb 1, nb 1) 10

Total: (5 wickets, 45 overs) 140

FOW: 1-13, 2-45, 3-55, 4-128, 5-129

Bowling O M R W

Mohammed Siraj 5 2 13 0

Ravichandran Ashwin 17 7 27 3

Axar Patel 10 2 42 1

Jayant Yadav 8 2 30 0

Umesh Yadav 5 1 19 0

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