Indian spinners found their range on the third day of the opening Test to bundle out New Zealand batsmen. Six of them were trapped leg before. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who picked 5/73 on Saturday, said the four wickets which they got in the morning session turned out to be a game-changer for them.
Out of these four wickets, New Zealand lost three of them within 24 balls, including the overnight pair of Tom Latham and Kane Williamson, who had laid the foundation for the visitors’ batting. Williamson was done in by a beauty from R Ashwin whose ball turned in viciously to clip the bails of New Zealand captain. “It came through the bat and pad. It was a fantastic ball,” Jadeja conceded.
“We knew that it is 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. We got four wickets in the morning session and that was game changing.
“They were trying to play shots and we knew they will make one other mistake. We bowled from outside off stump, built pressure and executed our plans well."
Asked what tips he got from coach and former leg-spinner Anil Kumble, Jadeja said: “He asked me to bowl in the rough areas and look for angles and bowling from wide of the crease. There were a lot of foot marks around the off stump area. He told me that those marks will have a bearing on the minds of the batsmen."
Jadeja also said that his team-mates are so used to playing on such pitches and conditions that they don't have to think differently to perform at home.
"I have been playing on these pitches for the last so many years. Since my under-14 days, I have played on similar pitches and conditions. We have also played on underprepared pitches, so that gives you experience,” he said.
We’ll bounce back
New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling praised the Indian spinners but said they were determined to bounce back on Sunday.
"There was definitely a bit more turn, but they have two quality spin bowlers and we lost wickets in clumps. 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,” Watling said.
"It's good bowling (to get six batsmen lbw). Sometimes the ball spins here, and sometimes it doesn't. It's about the lines we play and we're working on that every day, trying to figure it out.
“They are two quality spinners that know how to bowl spin in their conditions. We'll look at that and make sure we do better in the second innings."
Asked how the pitch behaved this day, Watling said: "As you'd expect with a day three wicket there is a lot more rough, a lot more footmarks out there and it's getting a bit slower in the middle of the track. But that is what you expect when you start the game. We know it is going to get tougher and tougher into day four and day five. No surprises there."