KANPUR - Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three wickets to have New Zealand reeling on 93 for four at stumps Sunday as the hosts tightened their grip on the first Test.

New Zealand were still 341 runs behind their mammoth target of 434, with Luke Ronchi (38) and Mitchell Santner (8) battling on in India's 500th Test. The pair put on 37 for the fifth wicket to steady New Zealand's innings somewhat after the visitors were reduced to 56 for four. Ronchi, who has hit four fours and one six during his 58-ball stay, played positively to tackle the spinners on a turning track. Ashwin rocked the New Zealand innings in his second over when he sent openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham trudging back to the pavilion.

An unlucky Guptill got an inside edge onto his pads to be dismissed for a duck, with the ball lobbing into the hands of Murali Vijay at short leg. The left-handed Latham, who scored a gritty 58 in the first innings, was trapped lbw for two when playing for the off-break that did not turn.

Ashwin then got the prized wicket of captain Kane Williamson for 25, derailing New Zealand's chase at Kanpur's Green Park. It was Ashwin's 200th Test wicket in his 37th match, making him the second fastest player to the total. Australia's Clarrie Grimmett raced to 200 wickets in 36 games. But more than records, Ashwin had victory on his mind as India eyed an early lead in the three-match series. "Everybody keeps talking about 13 Tests in this season but for me, it's one day at a time. Try to win the Test tomorrow, take a 1-0 lead and take it from there," Ashwin told reporters.

"I've always maintained that I compete (with) myself. It might sound cliched to you. If you go out to beat records or catch up with it, it will teach you a lesson," he said. The visitors slipped further when Ross Taylor was run out for 17 by Umesh Yadav's direct throw from deep mid-wicket, which hit the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Ronchi and Santner then held the fort until close of play to take the fight into the fifth and final day. "I think, like that last partnership towards the end today, we've just got to keep fighting and that's the way we play cricket, we have to fight to the end," New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen said.

India declared their second innings on 377 for five at tea with Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja putting on a 100-run unbeaten partnership for the sixth wicket. The pair played attacking cricket in the second session to put India on top.

 Jadeja hit two fours and three sixes during his 58-ball knock and Sharma struck eight boundaries for his fifth Test half-century.

Cheteshwar Pujara top-scored for the hosts with 78 and his 133-run second-wicket partnership with Murali Vijay (76) was the highlight of the innings. New Zealand spinners Santner and Ish Sodhi claimed two wickets each as Mark Craig chipped in with one. Ashwin and Jadeja, sharing nine wickets between them, had put India in control on Saturday after bowling out New Zealand for 262 in response to India's first-innings 318.





(OVERNIGHT: 159/1):

L Rahul c Taylor b Sodhi 38

M Vijay lbw b Santner 76

C Pujara c Taylor b Sodhi 78

V Kohli c Sodhi b Craig 18

A Rahane c Taylor b Santner 40

R Sharma not out 68

R Jadeja not out 50

EXTRAS: (b1, lb8) 9

TOTAL: (5 wkts; 107.2 overs) 377

FOW: 1-52, 2-185, 3-214, 4-228, 5-277

BOWLING: Boult 9-0-34-0, Santner 32.2-11-79-2, Craig 23-3-80-1, Wagner 16-5-52-0, Sodhi 20-2-99-2, Guptill 4-0-17-0, Williamson 3-0-7-0


T Latham lbw b Ashwin 2

M Guptill c Vijay b Ashwin 0

K Williamson lbw b Ashwin 25

R Taylor run out 17

L Ronchi not out 38

M Santner not out 8

EXTRAS: (lb2, nb1) 3

TOTAL: (4 wkts; 37 overs) 93

FOW: 1-2, 2-3, 3-43, 5-56

BOWLING: Shami 4-2-6-0, Ashwin 16-1-68-3, Jadeja 14-10-8-0, Yadav 3-0-9-0

TOSS: India

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Rod Tucker (AUS)

TV UMPIRE: Anil Chaudhary (IND)