R Ashwin grabs five-for but New Zealand extend lead to 244

Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed his fifth five-for in Test cricket on Sunday PTI

By BD Narayankar

Bangalore: Sep 2, 2012

Ravichadran Ashwin scalped five wickets as New Zealand managed an overall lead of 244 after anabsorbing third day’s play to leave the second and final cricket Test against India interstingly poised.

After conceding a slender 12-run lead, Ashwin snared five for 69 to restrict New Zealand to 232 for nine on an action-packed third day which saw as many as 14 wickets fall at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

India will now look to wrap up the innings as quickly as possible and push for a 2-0 series win with two full days still left in the match.

Useful contributions from the middle-order helped the visitors in their endeavour to put up a defendable total as Ashwin didn’t let the Black Caps take a runaway lead.

Ashwin got rid of Kruger van Wyk, James Franklin and Tim Southee in quick succession before Pragyan Ojha dsmissed Bracewell to peg back the visitors.

The burly Tamil Nadu offie began post-tea session by claiming Daniel Flynn‘s wicket soon after tea for 31 (65 balls 4s-6) caught at first slip by Virender Sehwag while trying to run the ball down to third man.

Pacer Umesh Yadav also gave able support to Ashwin by providing two vital breakthroughs sending back openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum in the post-lunch session.

Yadav also intimidated pocket-sized NZ keeper Krugner van Wyk with short-pitched stuff. Van Wyk was struck on his helmet as he took eyes off a short delivery from Yadav prompting the physio to run in on to the ground to attend him. The ‘keeper once again took a beating on his wrist in Yadav’s next delivery.

Franklin and Van Wyk frustrated the home team bowlers with a gutsy 55-run stand for sixth wicket after the Black Caps were reduced to 140 for five at one stage.

Van Wyk was foxed by Ashwin trapping him leg before for 31 with scorecard reading 195 for six.

Flynn, who scored 31 with six boundaries gave the innings some momentum which shifted in favour of Indian bowlers once Flynn was gone.

In post lunch session, Yadav scalped two wickets as Indian bowlers struck four times to leave the test in balance.

Yadav claimed the wickets of openers McCullum who scored 23 and Martin Guptill who could manage only 7 while Ojha dismissed Kane Williamson and opposition skipper Ross Taylor.

Taylor looked good during his innings of 35 as New Zealand had reached 123 for four at break with Flynn and Franklin were batting on 25 and 11 respectively.

Yadav gave the much needed breakthrough when he first got Guptill with a full toss that castled him and then a fuller delivery saw McCullum edging one to Indian skipper behind stumps.

Tottering at 31 for two, New Zealand skipper and first innings centurion Taylor straightaway survived a loud leg before appeal, but the ball clearly missed leg stump.

Soon a rejoicing moment came his way when he punched Yadav at covers for a couple of runs and became the 12th New Zealand player to achieve the feat of reaching 3,000 Test runs.

Earlier, Virat Kohli completed his second Test century while skipper Dhoni contributed 62 but India were all out for 353 thereby conceding a 12-run first innings lead to the Kiwis.

Seamer Tim Southee took a career best seven for 64 as he ran through the lower middle-order to keep New Zealand in the match.

The day started with both Kohli batting on 93 and Dhoni on 46 reaching their individual milestones with boundaries.

Dhoni reached his half century with a fine straight drive of left-arm seamer Trent Boult.

In the same over, Kohli tucked one on his pads to the square leg boundary to reach his second Test hundred. However the celebrations weren’t as animated as it was when he git to his first hundred against Australia.

Kohli, however shouldered arms to a Southee delivery that was in line and was promptly given leg before. Dhoni got one that darted back sharply to be adjudged leg before.

Zaheer Khan and Pragyan Ojha followed the suit as India were reduced to 320 for nine from 301 for five.

However Umesh Yadav provided some support to Ashwin who hit an unbeaten 32 to help India cross 350 and keep the lead to only 12 runs. Ashwin’s innings may turn out to be an important one if India go on to win the Test match. (PTI)

Brief Scores: New Zealand 365 & 232 for 9 (James Franklin 41, Ross Taylor 35; Ravichandran Ashwin 5 for 69) lead India 353 (Virat Kohli 103, MS Dhoni 62, Suresh Raina 55, Virender Sehwag 43; Tim Southee 7 for 64) by 244 runs.

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