Kanpur: Left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s fifth five-wicket haul in just his seventh Test innings helped India bowl out New Zealand for 296 in day three of the first Test at the Green Park Stadium here Saturday. Apart from Patel’s 5/62, Ravichandran Ashwin (3/82), Ravindra Jadeja (1/57) and Umesh Yadav (1/50) chipped in, helping India take a slender 49-run lead.
India were made to toil hard as Tom Latham (95) and Will Young (89) stitched an opening stand of 151. But the hosts never lost patience and put in the hard yards in triggering a New Zealand meltdown. Ashwin finally succeeded in separating the openers as Young edged an outside off delivery which kept low with the outer edge to KS Bharat, filling in for Wriddhiman Saha, who has a stiff neck, for a superb low catch in the 67th over.
Ashwin almost had his second wicket in the 73rd over had India taken the review. The ace off-spinner got one to turn from leg-stump and rapped Latham’s pad in front of off-stump. Later, replays showed three reds, which meant a costly miss for India. Kane Williamson was nervy against Ashwin but came out in full flow against Jadeja, smashing him for boundaries through cover and point.
After taking the new ball, India were instantly rewarded with Williamson’s wicket at the stroke of lunch, as Yadav got a length ball to nip back in and rapped the right-hander on his back pad. Williamson reviewed but replays showed ball hitting top of middle stump.
Post lunch, India was rewarded for their relentless tight lines as Patel got Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls in quick succession. The left-arm spinner got a length delivery to turn and take the outer edge off Taylor’s bat on forward defence to substitute keeper KS Bharat. He then returned in his next over to take out Nicholls, who missed the sweep and was rapped on the back pad. Nicholls reviewed the decision but couldn’t reverse it.
Latham, who was as solid as a rock, fell five short of his 12th Test hundred in a rush of blood moment in the 103rd over. The left-hander came out to defend, but the inner edge rolled to Bharat, who kept his balance to complete the stumping, giving Patel his third wicket. Debutant Rachin Ravindra looked good while striking Ashwin for boundaries but his promising stay at the crease ended with Ravindra Jadeja bowling him through the gate as New Zealand wobbled from 214/2 to 241/6.
Patel struck again after tea, sneaking one past Tom Blundell’s defence with low bounce. He then grabbed his fifth five-wicket haul in Test cricket by surprising Tim Southee with an angled-in delivery, which spun past the bat to leave the stumps shattered. Kyle Jamieson, who showed some resistance, miscued a slog to Patel at deep mid-wicket off Ashwin in the 139th over. Four overs later, the off-spinner had William Somerville clean bowled to wrap up New Zealand’s innings.
Brief scores: India 345 against New Zealand 296 in 142.3 overs (Tom Latham 95, Will Young 89, Axar Patel 5/62, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/82), leading by 49 runs