For the third time in this series, R Ashwin had the New Zealand batsmen in the hole. But for the first time, it was not because of the crumbling pitch. The off-spinner took his 20th five-wicket haul in Test matches to put India in the driver’s seat and closer to a series sweep against New Zealand. India are leading the three-match series 2-0 and are on the verge of winning the third.
New Zealand, resuming the day on 28/0, were bowled out for 299 in the third session of the third day which gave India a 258-run lead. India then reached 18-0 in six overs at stumps, taking an overall lead of 276 runs.
It was not the same for New Zealand. Openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill shared a 118-run opening stand and led the visitors’ reply with half-centuries. Ashwin dismissed Latham before Lunch and they went into the break at 125/1. But it all went haywire after Lunch. Ashwin picked up three wickets and even effected the run-out of Guptill at the non-striker’s end while bowling. The New Zealand opener was out for 72. Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi were the other three to fall.
James Neesham (71) scored his fourth test half-century, and shared a fifty partnership with BJ Watling before the latter was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja. After Tea, Neesham put on 52 runs with Mitchell Santner (22) for the seventh wicket. Jadeja once again broke the stand when Kohli took a sensational catch at leg-slip.
Ashwin then trapped Neesham LBW to complete his five-wicket haul. Jeetan Patel, who had played a good hand with the bat in first innings, was dismissed in a similar manner as Guptill. He was backing up too far and Ashwin got a hand when the ball was hit straight back from Matt Henry, deflected by Ashwin. Trent Boult was the last wicket to fall as Ashwin finished with six wickets.
India decided to bat again and finished with 18/0, with overall lead of 276 runs. Gautam Gambhir, who injured his shoulder while fielding, was retired hurt after he fell on the same shoulder trying to complete a run. At close of play, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara were the unbeaten batsmen for India.