HYDERABAD, India (AFP) — Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took a career-best 6-31 to put India in firm command on a rain-hit third day of the opening Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad yesterday.
The 25-year-old was superbly backed by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (3-44) as New Zealand were dismissed for 159 in their first innings at the stroke of lunch in reply to India's 438.
The hosts, who enforced the follow-on after taking a 279-run lead, reduced New Zealand to 41-1 in the second innings at stumps on a day when only 37.3 overs were bowled.
Opener Brendon McCullum was unbeaten on 16 and Kane Williamson was three not out when play was called off after tea due to rain. New Zealand trail by 238 runs.
India opened the attack in the second innings with Ojha, who trapped opener Martin Guptill (16) leg-before in his eighth over to claim his fourth wicket of the match.
The tourists earlier added 53 runs to their overnight total of 106-5 after the match started an hour late due to a wet outfield, with Ashwin taking three wickets and Ojha and paceman Umesh Yadav one each.
It was Ashwin's third haul of five or more wickets in an innings in seven Tests.
James Franklin, unbeaten on 31 on Friday, was the lone batsman to defy the Indian attack, top-scoring with an unbeaten 43 off 122 balls.
India struck in the day's second over when Yadav trapped Kruger van Wyk leg-before for no score and then Ojha had Doug Bracewell (17) stumped to reduce the tourists to 141-7.
India 1st Innings 438
New Zealand 1st Innings (Overnight 106-5)
B McCullum c Kohli b Ojha 22
M Guptill c Kohli b Ashwin 2
K Williamson c Sehwag b Ojha 32
R Taylor c Kohli b Ashwin 2
D Flynn lbw b Ashwin 16
J Franklin not out 43
K van Wyk lbw b Yadav 0
D Bracewell st Dhoni b Ojha 17
J Patel c & b Ashwin 10
T Boult c Gambhir b Ashwin 4
C Martin b Ashwin 0
Extras:(4b, 7lb) 11
TOTAL: (all out) 159
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-29, 3-35, 4-55, 5-99, 6-111, 7-141, 8-153, 9-159.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 11-4-33-0, Umesh Yadav 8-0-24-1, Pragyan Ojha 21-6-44-3, Ravichandran Ashwin 16.3-5-31-6, Virender Sehwag 2-0-4-0, Suresh Raina 2-0-6-0, Sachin Tendulkar 1-0-6-0.
New Zealand 2nd Innings
M Guptill lbw b Ojha 16
B McCullum not out 16
K Williamson not out 3
Extras: (6lb) 6
TOTAL: (for one wicket) 41
Fall of wicket: 1-26.
Bowling: Pragyan Ojha 9-4-13-1, Zaheer Khan 5-2-4-0, Umesh Yadav 3-0-13-0, Ravichandran Ashwin 1-0-5-0.
Umpires: Steve Davis, Australia, and Ian Gould, England.
TV umpire: Vineet Kulkarni, India. Match referee: Chris Broad, England.