ASHWIN TIGHTENS GRIP ON NEW ZEALAND
OFF-SPINNER Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three wickets to leave New Zealand reeling at 93 for four at stumps with India tightening its grip on the first Test match in Kanpur yesterday. New Zealand were still 341 runs behind their mammoth target of 434, with Luke Ronchi (38) and Mitchell Santner (8) battling on in India’s 500th Test. The batting duo put on 37 runs for the fifth wicket to steady New Zealand’s innings after the visitors were reduced to 56 for four. Ronchi, who has hit four fours and one six during his 58-ball stay, played with a positive intent to tackle the spinners on a turning day four track. Ashwin rocked the New Zealand innings in his second over when he sent openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham trudging back to the pavilion. Guptill was unlucky as he got an inside edge onto his pads and the ball lobbed into the hands of Murali Vijay at short leg. He was out for nought. The left-handed Latham, who scored a gritty 58 in the first innings, was trapped lbw for two as the batsman played for the off-break that did not turn. Ashwin then got the prized wicket of captain Kane Williamson for 25, denting New Zealand’s chase at Kanpur’s Green Park.