Kanpur: Axar Patel’s dream run on home soil continued as his 5/62 coupled with fellow Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s 3/82 put India back in the contest on Day 3 of the first Test in Kanpur on Friday with Kiwis getting bundled out on 296.
India at stumps were on 14/1 with a 64 run lead at their hands despite the loss of opener Subhman Gill. Mayank Agarwal(4*) and Cheteshwar Pujara(9*) will look to pile up the lead on a crucial Day 4 if India wants to give the Kiwis a stiff target to chase.
The visitors came out in the morning being in the drivers seat with an overnight score of 129/0 with the all the wickets in hand. However, the the hosts piled up pressure by bowling with purpose before breaking the 151 run opening stand as Ashwin removed the well set Will Young(89). Seamer Umesh Yadav followed it up taking the price scalp of skipper Kane Williamson which proved to be the turning point of the day’s play.
With the Indian spinners running havoc, Tom Latham(95) was the lone man continuing the fight but fell to Axar just short of a deserving ton while the floodgates opened after that as both Axar and Ashwin wrapped up the innings despite the Kiwis playing much of the overs on the day.
Axar has unleashed himself on a different note since his debut for India in whites at the start of the year picking up 32 wickets in just three and half Tests. Friday’s five-for was actually his fifth having already got four in the three Tests against England earlier.
His fellow spinner Ashwin went inch closer to to a feat as well being on verge of becoming the third highest Indian wicket-taker in Test cricket which he can do it in this game having to bowl in the fourth innings of the match.
The duo stuck to their plan for a couple of session post lunch as India got eight wickets while giving away 99 runs while also getting a healthy 63 run lead. Now its up to the batters to capitalise this opportunity to the best and considering the Blackcaps’ vulnerability against spin, India have great chance at hands to pull-off a stunning victory if they can keep their temperament.
Brief Scores: India 345 all-out & 14/1 vs New Zealand 296 all-out( Tom Latham 95, Will Young 89; Axar Patel 5/62, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/82), India lead by 63 runs. Match to Continue.