The first two days gave no encouraging indication of pitch turning square and aiding the spinners. But on day three, the Green Park track had spin and bounce – needless to say the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were in thick of things.
At the end of day two, Tom Latham and Kane Williamson had done well to keep the Indian bowlers at bay, especially the two spinners. India started with spin from both ends and Ashwin didn’t take long to send back overnight batsman Latham for 58 trapped lbw. Then Jadeja joined in to snare Ross Taylor out for a duck.
The ball of the match has to be the one bowled by Ashwin to get the prized wicket of Williamson for 75. The ball pitching way outside off, spun back sharply to castle the stumps of a clueless Kiwi captain. Once the overnight batsmen were gone, Ashwin and Jadeja were all over the tourists.
However, the partnerships between Luke Ronchi-Mitchell Santner and then the stand between Santner and BJ Watling frustrated India. And once both these stands were broken, the New Zealand slide was fast. The left-arm spinner picked up three wickets (Mark Craig, Ish Sodhi, Trent Bount) in one over to complete his fifth five-wicket haul in Tests. This was Jadeja’s first five-for since December 2015 against South Africa in Delhi. (R Ashwin can overshadow Kapil Dev as India’s best all-rounder)Jadeja (5-73) was successful today against New Zealand for not trying anything different and bowling to his strengths. His four wickets out of five were lbw dismissals. Meanwhile at the other end Ashwin also played a key role by picking up wickets at crucial stages and finishing with impressive figures of 4-93. Moreover, in this match he stands a chance of becoming the second fastest to 200 Test wickets after Aussie spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who achieved the feat in his 36th Test. Ashwin, who is playing his 37th match, is just three wickets away from the milestone and with the pitch turning sharp, the record looks achievable. Currently, Waqar Younis and Dennis Lillee are joint second fastest to 200 wickets