Ind vs NZ second Test | India on the cusp of another home series win

R Ashwin celebrates with teammates after taking a wicket on day 3 of the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai on December 5, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Batters are expected to make merry on the third day of a Test match, especially in the subcontinent. While Sunday saw the highest daily tally of the game, spinners continued to make inroads as India ended on the cusp of a facile win versus New Zealand.

Spinners on a roll

A whopping 347 runs were scored at the Wankhede Stadium to entertain a vocal Sunday crowd. But tweakers snared 11 of the 12 wickets as India was five wickets short of extending its eight-year unbeaten series run at home.

After setting New Zealand a gargantuan target of 540 runs, India’s spinners continued to pile on New Zealand’s misery as the visiting side finished day three at 140 for five.

New Zealand will be hoping for Henry Nicholls, who survived almost two hours, and Rachin Ravindra, whose blockathon was instrumental in the Black Caps pulling off a draw in the series-opener, to stretch the game deep on the penultimate day.

But their task will be easier said than done as R. Ashwin and Axar Patel continued their dominance against a largely clueless batting unit against spin. It didn’t come as a surprise that Ashwin was handed the new ball with India declaring its second essay at 276 for seven with half an hour remaining for tea.

While a spidercam malfunction resulted in the umpires being forced to call tea earlier than scheduled, the ball prior to it from Ashwin saw Tom Latham, the stand-in skipper, fail to read the line of one that came in with the angle to be trapped in front.

Soon after the break, with Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal not taking the field as precautionary measure due to minor injuries, one of the two substitute fielders was in action. Will Young couldn’t negotiate the turn and bounce extracted by Ashwin and offered a bat-pad catch to Suryakumar Yadav at short-leg.

Ross Taylor then committed harakiri as his slog-sweep resulted in a top-edge that was latched on to by Cheteshwar Pujara running backward from leg-slip to take Ashwin’s home Test-wicket tally to 299.

Taylor’s wasn’t the only brain-fade moment for the Kiwis. Daryl Mitchell, who justified his inclusion as Kane Williamson’s replacement with a sublime fifty, holed out to Jayant Yadav at deep cover off Axar Patel before Tom Blundell ran himself out to put the Kiwis in a deeper hole.

Best figures

Earlier in the day, the two Patels — Ajaz and Axar — continued to sizzle. Ajaz added four more scalps, including that of half-centurion Mayank Agarwal, to his ‘Perfect-10’ to register the best figures by a bowler against India. Axar then showed his prowess with the willow with a cameo to help India declare at 276 for seven.

But one of the main objectives of India’s decision to bat instead of imposing the follow-on wasn’t really achieved. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, in need of a big score ahead of the South Africa tour, couldn’t convert their starts. But their dismissals — Pujara edging Ajaz to slip and Kohli playing left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra on to the stumps — didn’t hurt India on the day.


India 1st innings: 325

New Zealand 1st innings: 62

Indian 2nd innings: 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 and b Patel 6. Extras (b6, lb3, nb1) 10

Total (7 wickets dec, 70 overs) 276.

Fall of wickets: 1-107, 2-115, 3-197, 4-211, 5-217, 6-238, 7-276

New Zealand bowling: Southee 13-1-31-0, Ajaz 26-3-106-4, Jamieson 8-2-15-0, Somerville 10-0-59-0, Ravindra 13-2-56-3

New Zealand 2nd innings: T. Latham lbw b Ashwin 6; W. Young c (sub Suryakumar) b Ashwin 20; D. Mitchell c Jayant b Axar 60; R. Taylor c Pujara b Ashwin 6; H. Nicholls not out 36; T. Blundell run out (Bharat/Saha) 0; R. Ravindra not out 2. Extras (b8, lb1, nb1) 10

Total (5 wickets, 45 overs) 140.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-45, 3-55, 4-128, 5-129

Indian bowling: Siraj 5-2-13-0, Ashwin 17-7-27-3, Axar 10-1-42-1, Jayant 8-2-30-0, Umesh 5-1-19-0

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 2:43:26 AM |

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