R Ashwin’s 20th five-wicket haul in Test Cricket helped India bowl out New Zealand for 299 on the third day of the Indore Test. Declining to enforce the follow-on after Ashwin’s 6 for 81 secured a 258-run lead, the Indian batsman ended the day at 18/0, giving their bowlers a well-deserved rest.
Ashwin turned the tide in India’s favour with a brilliant spell that started just before lunch and continued in the second session after the Kiwi openers had registered a hundred-plus stand in reply to India’s 557/7 declared.
Openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill shared a 118-run opening stand and led the visitors’ reply with half-centuries. Ashwin dismissed Latham before Lunch and they went into the break at 125/1. After lunch, the Indian spinner picked up three wickets and even effected the run-out of Guptill at the non-striker’s end while bowling. The New Zealand opener was out for 72. Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi were the other three to fall.
Having lost five wickets for 30 runs in barely an hour’s play, New Zealand had an uphill task of batting deep and avoiding the follow-on. James Neesham (71), making his maiden appearance in the series, found support from B.J. Watling and Mitchell Santner. The successive 50-plus stands for the sixth and seventh wickets, with Neesham backing himself and timing his strokes meant the visitors avoided the embarrassment of being bowled out cheaply.
Jadeja broke both the battling half-centuries, before Ashwin trapped Neesham LBW to complete his five-wicket haul. JS Patel was the second batsman to be run out by Ashwin and in a move that left no one questioning his dominance the Tamil Nadu player took the last wicket of TA Boult.
The India openers came out to bat to see off six overs in the day’s play. Gautam Gambhir, who had spent better part of the last session in the dressing room after hurting his shoulder in the field, did walk out with M. Vijay. But the comeback man did his shoulder in again while diving to complete a second run and had to head back into the dressing room. Pujara then saw off the last three overs in Vijay’s company.