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Jadeja, Ashwin run riot, India grab 56-run lead

Wisden India logo Wisden India 24-09-2016
© Reuters Image

Ravindra Jadeja picked up three wickets in a single over and five in the innings to bowl New Zealand out an hour after lunch on the third day of the opening Test at Green Park in Kanpur on Saturday (September 24).

New Zealand, who started the day on a healthy 152 for 1, finished their innings on 262 from 95.5 overs to concede a significant 56-run lead to India. Jadeja finished with figures of 5 for 73 from 34 overs and R Ashwin ended with 4 for 93 from 30.5 overs.

Like India, who went from 154 to 1 to 277 for 9, before Jadeja and Umesh Yadav carried them to 318, New Zealand, too, collapsed in similar fashion. The visitors looked well in control of the contest on the second day with Tom Latham and Kane Williamson hitting fifties, but it was quite clear that as the match progressed to the third day, it would only get more difficult for the batsmen.

The day started with Virat Kohli, the skipper, starting with Ashwin from one end and Jadeja from the other. Immediately it was clear that the strip had a bit more turn and bounce on offer for the bowlers as the overnight duo of Latham and Williamson struggled to find bat to ball with their footwork tentative.

They weren’t getting as far forward or back as confidently as they had on Friday when they added 117 runs together. Sure enough, Ashwin studied the lack of movement and slipped in an arm ball to trap Latham in front of the stumps for 58, ending the 124-run alliance. Jadeja, not to be undone, fired in an arm ball of his own to trap Ross Taylor bang in front of the stumps for nought the very next over.

© BCCI Photo

But the big wicket arrived a few overs later as Ashwin exploited the rough outside the off stump to Williamson (75 off 137 balls) and got one to rip into the New Zealand skipper, clip the pad and crash into the stumps.

New Zealand were in a sticky situation but a deep batting line-up meant India couldn’t take it easy just yet. Kohli would’ve wished he had someone like an Amit Mishra, the leg spinner, to work with on this strip, but instead he had to rely on the part-time spin of M Vijay and Rohit Sharma.

Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner kept their wits about them to add 49 runs for the fifth wicket to and keep New Zealand ticking along until a full delivery on the off stump from Jadeja sent the latter back lbw for an 83-ball 38. Rod Tucker’s decision was questionable as the ball may have gone on to miss the off stump, but that didn’t stop the home side or the crowd from celebrating an important scalp.

Kohli took the new ball as soon as it was due, but BJ Watling and Santner didn’t allow India to take any more wickets in what was possibly the liveliest session in the Test so far. Or so it seemed until Ashwin picked off Santner off his first delivery in the post-lunch session.

But nothing compared to the excitement Jadeja generated in the 95th over when he landed the ball repeatedly on a tricky length and plucked out Mark Craig, Ish Sodhi and Trent Boult. The left-arm spinner was unfortunate to miss out on a hat-trick as Boult played out the delivery, but three wickets in an over, followed by Ashwin’s caught and bowled to get rid of Watling, was enough to ensure India had a clear advantage coming out to bat for the second time.

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