Ash­win six-for puts In­dia in firm con­trol in third NZ Test

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

WILY off-spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win backed him­self yes­ter­day to out­fox any bats­man in the world after his six wick­ets in the third and fi­nal Test against New Zealand put In­dia in pole po­si­tion to com­plete a white­wash.

Ash­win, who is the lead­ing wick­et­taker in the se­ries with 20 dis­missals, was again the stand­out per­former as the hosts bowled out the tourists for 299 and se­cured a 258-run lead on day three of the match.

In­dia, who did not en­force the fol­low-on, were 18 for no loss in their sec­ond in­nings at stumps, with Mu­rali Vi­jay (11) and Chetesh­war Pu­jara (1) stretch­ing the lead to 276.

Opener Gau­tam Gamb­hir re­tired hurt on six after ag­gra­vat­ing a shoul­der in­jury, which he first suf­fered while field­ing, as he dived into his crease to avoid a run-out.

Ear­lier Ash­win en­sured that In­dia con­tin­ued their dom­i­na­tion of the se­ries at their new­est Test venue, Indore’s Holkar Sta­dium, after record­ing his 20th five-wicket haul to de­stroy the New Zealand bat­ting.

“It is pretty spe­cial [five-for]. It is very im­por­tant for me to get into a good rhythm ... Once I get into that good rhythm I think I can beat any bats­man in the world: That’s where I stand right now,” he told re­porters.

Opener Martin Gup­till, who struck form with a gritty 72, and James Nee­sham (71) put up the main re­sis­tance against an in­spired In­dian at­tack.

The Black Caps, who be­gan the day on 28 with­out loss, had made a strong start in re­sponse to In­dia’s com­mand­ing first in­nings score of 557 for five de­clared, but then lost five wick­ets for just 30 runs.

After Tom Latham fell just be­fore lunch for 53, caught and bowled by Ash­win, In­dia turned the screws on the vis­i­tors by tak­ing a fur­ther five wick­ets in the af­ter­noon ses­sion.

Ash­win’s other vic­tims in­cluded New Zealand skip­per Kane Wil­liamson, who was bowled for eight after drag­ging a turn­ing de­liv­ery onto his stumps.

It was the third time in a row that the Black Caps’ star bats­man had been dis­missed by Ash­win.

In­dian skip­per Vi­rat Kohli had played a vi­tal role on Oc­to­ber 9 with a ca­reer-best 211, his sec­ond dou­ble­cen­tury in Tests.

Kohli’s record 365-run fourth­wicket stand with Ajinkya Ra­hane (188) was the high­light of In­dia’s first in­nings after the hosts elected to bat first.

In­dia, who took an unas­sail­able 2-0 lead in Kolkata, are look­ing to com­plete their sec­ond suc­ces­sive home se­ries white­wash against New Zealand.

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