Kanpur - Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin
helped India gain control of the first Test against New Zealand before the
hosts stretched the second innings lead to 215 on the third day in Kanpur on
India, who are playing their 500th Test match, were 159 for
one at stumps with opener Murali Vijay on 64 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 50 going
The batting duo put together an unbeaten 107-run stand for
the second wicket to take the attack to the opposition bowlers.
But it was Jadeja and Aswhin, sharing nine wickets between
them, who spun it around for India after bowling out New Zealand for 262 in
their first innings and securing a vital 56-run lead.
The Indian batsmen seized the advantage with Vijay putting
on a 52-run opening stand with Lokesh Rahul, who finally fell to New Zealand
spinner Ish Sodhi for 38.
Vijay, who registered his 13th half-century, struck seven
fours and a six to entertain the raucous home crowd at Kanpur's Green Park
Pujara also took on the spinners with aplomb as he hit eight
boundaries to record his eight Test fifty in his 36th match.
Earlier Ashwin got overnight batsmen Tom Latham and Kane Williamson
in the morning session to hurt the Black Caps, who started the day on 152 for
one in response to India's 318.
"We knew that it was Kane who can really bat for long
in their line up. The plan was to get him out. We know others can't bat long
hours," Jadeja told reporters.
"We got four wickets in the morning session and that
was game changing."
Off-spinner Ashwin, who took four wickets, struck in the
fifth over of the day to get Latham trapped lbw for 58 and break the 124-run
partnership for the second wicket.
The left-handed Latham, who added just two runs to his
overnight score, was done in by a drifter bowled by Ashwin from around the
But it was the wicket of Williamson, who scored 75, that
turned the tables for the hosts as Ashwin got the dangerman bowled off a
beautiful delivery that spun a lot from outside the off stump.
"It was a good ball that came through the bat and the
pad," Jadeja, who recorded his fifth five-wicket haul in Tests, said of
Luke Ronchi steadied the innings for a while with his
composed 38 but Jadeja got the batsman lbw to break the 49-run fifth-wicket
partnership before lunch.
The spin twins continued to wreak havoc after the first
session as Jadeja, who was denied a hat-trick, wiped off the opposition tail
after taking three wickets in the 95th over of the innings.
New Zealand lost five wickets for just seven runs as they
nosedived from 255 for five to pack up in 95.5 overs.
Santner contributed with 32 while wicketkeeper-batsman BJ
Watling also scored 21 to put up some fight but the lower-order batsmen failed
to handle the Indian spinners.
"There was definitely a bit more turn (on day three),
but they have two quality spin bowlers and we lost wickets in clumps,"
Six New Zealand batsmen were trapped lbw on the pitch which
started to turn a lot more than the first two days.
"We talked about that, we know it's tough to start in
these conditions and we've definitely got to do that better in our second
innings," said Watling.