tightened their grip on the first Test as New Zealand were
struggling at 106 for five in the first innings, still needing 133
runs to avoid the follow-on, after the second day's play in the
first Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium,
Uppal, here Friday.
Devastating spells by offie Ravichandran Ashwin (3-30) and
left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (2-35) left the Kiwis struggling on
a day, which was completely dominated by India.
Earlier, India's innings folded at 438 shortly before the tea
session. Cheteshwar Pujara scored 159 while skipper Mahendra Singh
Dhoni scored 73.
Replying to India's huge total, Brendon McCullum (22) began the
innings in style, hitting Zaheer Khan's first delivery for a
boundary through covers.
McCullum looked in good touch hitting Khan for two boundaries on
the leg in the seventh over of the inning. But the change of
bowling in the very next over paid off for India as McCullum tried
to clear Ojha over cover but was held cleanly by Virat Kohli.
Ashwin, who earlier excelled with the bat hitting 37 off 54, had a
dream start to his spell, claiming opening batsman Martin Guptill
(2) in the very first ball. The opener inside edged and was
cleanly taken by Kohli at backward short leg and the visitors were
left reeling at 29 for two.
The India spinners started mounting pressure from both ends.
Ashwin dealt another blow in his second over, claiming Ross Taylor
(2). The New Zealand captain tried to tuck away a ball which
spinned and Kohli took a good low catch at backward short leg.
The Indians were convinced but umpires Steve Davis and Ian Gould
referred it to the third umpire, who after a few TV replays
declared Taylor out.
The visitors slumped to 35 for three when Daniel Flynn joined
Williamson to steer the team. The two tried to rebuild the innings
but Flynn did not last as Ashwin had him leg before wicket while
he tried to sweep, a shot which had yielded him two boundaries in
the previous over by Ojha.
New Zealand were in dire straits at 55 for four and could have
been in further trouble if Virender Sehwag at the first slip had
attempted to hold on to an outside edge by Williamson off Ashwin.
Williamson then with James Franklin tried to rescue the team. The
right hand and left hand combination added 44 runs for the fifth
wicket, the longest partnership of the New Zealand team so far.
Local boy Ojha gave another key breakthrough when he had
Williamson caught by Sehwag at the first slip. Franklin was
fighting the lonely battle with 31 not out.
Earlier, riding on a fine 159 by Cheteshwar Pujara, India ended
their first innings at 438 shortly before the tea session.
Resuming the day at 307 for five, India added 131 runs in the
first two sessions of the day before their innings folded up. The
hosts started the day under overcast conditions and both the
batsmen helped India build the innings and push ahead in the first
session against the Kiwis.
Overnight batsmen Pujara and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (73)
played it safely in the first session when India extended their
lead by 64 runs without loss to get to 371 for five at lunch.
Pujara and Dhoni denied New Zealand any success. The pair kept the
scoreboard ticking with some big shots, though regularly operating
in a lower gear.
The Kiwi bowlers tried probing the Indians, however proving
unsuccessful.Pujara continued with his good form from Thursday,
and the only chance New Zealand had to dislodge him, came when he
was slow to respond to Dhoni's call for a single. Brendon McCullum
at short cover faltered, and Pujara, batting at 133, managed to
scamper back to the crease.
Pujara crossed the 150-run mark as he reached 151 before lunch.
But the young batsman was dismissed shortly after the resumption
of play as he tried to hit out Jeetan Patel and James Franklin
took an easy catch at mid-on.
Dhoni, who added 127 runs with Pujara, also departed soon, leaving
the tail to fight on. Ashwin struck a quick-fire 37 off 54 balls
but didn't get much support from the other end.
The start of the match was delayed by 25 minutes as the ground
staff was asked to pull on the covers in anticipation of a rain
shower which never came.