KANPUR - Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin helped India gain control of the first Test against New Zealand before the hosts stretched the second innings lead to 215 on the third day on Saturday.

India, who are playing their 500th Test match, were 159 for one at stumps with opener Murali Vijay on 64 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 50 going strong. The batting duo put together an unbeaten 107-run stand for the second wicket to take the attack to the opposition bowlers. But it was Jadeja and Aswhin, sharing nine wickets between them, who spun it around for India after bowling out New Zealand for 262 in their first innings and securing a vital 56-run lead.

The Indian batsmen seized the advantage with Vijay putting on a 52-run opening stand with Lokesh Rahul, who finally fell to New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi for 38. Vijay, who registered his 13th half-century, struck seven fours and a six to entertain the raucous home crowd at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium. Pujara also took on the spinners with aplomb as he hit eight boundaries to record his eight Test fifty in his 36th match.

Earlier Ashwin got overnight batsmen Tom Latham and Kane Williamson in the morning session to hurt the Black Caps, who started the day on 152 for one in response to India's 318. "We knew that it was Kane who can really bat for long in their line up. The plan was to get him out. We know others can't bat long hours," Jadeja told reporters. "We got four wickets in the morning session and that was game changing."

Ashwin, who took four wickets, struck in the fifth over of the day to get Latham trapped lbw for 58 and break the 124-run partnership for the second wicket. Latham, who added just two runs to his overnight score, was done in by a drifter bowled by Ashwin from around the wicket. But it was the wicket of Williamson (75) turned the tables for the hosts as Ashwin got the dangerman bowled off a beautiful delivery that spun a lot from outside the off stump.

 "It was a good ball that came through the bat and the pad," Jadeja, who recorded his fifth five-wicket haul in Tests, said of Ashwin's delivery.

Luke Ronchi steadied the innings for a while with his composed 38 but Jadeja got the batsman lbw to break the 49-run fifth-wicket partnership before lunch. The spin twins continued to wreak havoc after the first session as Jadeja, who was denied a hat-trick, wiped off the opposition tail after taking three wickets in the 95th over of the innings.

New Zealand lost five wickets for just seven runs as they nosedived from 255 for five to pack up in 95.5 overs.

Santner contributed with 32 while wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling also scored 21 to put up some fight but the lower-order batsmen failed to handle the Indian spinners. "There was definitely a bit more turn (on day three), but they have two quality spin bowlers and we lost wickets in clumps," said Watling.

Six New Zealand batsmen were trapped lbw on the pitch which started to turn a lot more than the first two days. "We talked about that, we know it's tough to start in these conditions and we've definitely got to do that better in our second innings," said Watling.

 

Scoreboard

INDIA 1ST INNINGS: 318 all out
NEW ZEALAND 1ST INNINGS:
(OVERNIGHT: 152/1)
M Guptill lbw b Yadav 21
T Latham lb b Ashwin 58
K Williamson b Ashwin 75
R Taylor lbw b Jadeja 0
L Ronchi lbw b Jadeja 38
M Santner c Saha b Ashwin 32
BJ Watling c & b Ashwin 21
M Craig lbw b Jadeja 2
I Sodhi lbw b Jadeja 0
T Boult c Sharma b Jadeja 0
N Wagner not out 0
EXTRAS: (b 8, lb 5, nb 2) 15
TOTAL: (all out: 95.5 overs) 262
FOW: 1-35, 2-159, 3-160, 4-170, 5-219, 6-255, 7-258, 8-258, 9-258, 10-268.
BOWLING: Shami 11-1-35-0, Yadav 15-5-33-1, Jadeja 34-7-73-5, Ashwin 30.5-7-93-4, Vijay 4-0-10-0, Sharma 1-0-5-0.
INDIA 2ND INNINGS:
L Rahul c Taylor b Sodhi 38
M Vijay not out 64
C Pujara not out 50
EXTRAS: (lb 7) 7
TOTAL: (1 wicket; 47 overs) 159
FOW: 1-52
BOWLING: Trent Boult 5-0-1-0, Mitchell Santner 13-5-33-0, M. Craig 11-1-48-0, Wagner 8-3-17-1, Sodhi 7-2-29-1, Guptill 3-0-14-0.
TOSS: India
UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Rod Tucker (AUS)
TV UMPIRE: Anil Chaudhary (IND)
MATCH REFEREE: David Boon (AUS)
RESERVE UMPIRE: CK Nandan (IND)