Ashwin's 12 spell Kiwis doom

Cricket First Test: Dhonis men take 1-0 lead in the series with an innings and 115-run win at Hyderabad

Ashwin's 12 spell Kiwis doom

It was always a matter of when rather than if. And with the elements relenting for a while, the Indian spinners performed the final rites with great glee.

For the longest of time, it appeared as though the weather was a willing ally of New Zealand. After the loss of over three hours’ play on Saturday’s third day, persistent morning showers ensured that play began only at 11.00 am, two hours behind the scheduled 9.00 am start.

The ground staff, however, had assured that they needed just two hours to get the ground ready once the rain stops. They lived up to their promise as did the Kiwi batsmen to everyone’s expectations.

Needing another 238 runs to make India bat again after following on, all that New Zealand -- overnight 41/1 -- could manage was 164 all out, just five more runs than they had mustered in the first innings here at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Sunday. India thus emerged worthy winners, by an innings and 115 runs, to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, providing wholesome entertainment to close to 20,000 holiday crowd. The next match will be played in Bangalore from August 31.

R Ashwin was the game-changer with another six-wicket haul. The off-spinner, who had claimed 6/31 in the first innings, produced figures of 6/54 in the second for his best returns in a match, eclipsing his previous highest of nine wickets against the West Indies last year. The man of the match was well-supported by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha who had a match haul of 6/142. Ashwin’s 12/85 for the match is also the best effort by an Indian against New Zealand, the previous best being another off-spinner S Venkataraghavan’s 12/152 in 1965 at Delhi.

As much as India need to be lauded for their stellar performance that helped them win their first Test in five matches, the Kiwis showed distinct lack of fight. There were some passages when they looked like putting up some resistance, but there was nothing more to it. The wicket did aid the spinners, but it wasn’t certainly as bad as the Kiwi batsmen made it out to be.

To put their abject capitulation in perspective, while the two Kiwi innings lasted around 550 minutes, the duration of play lost due to rain alone was 312 minutes. And to think that there were almost four sessions of play left in the game. New Zealand did start on a positive note with overnight batsmen Brendon McCullum (42, 130b, 4x4) and Kane Williamson (52, 163b, 4x4) playing on the patience of Indian bowlers. The two right-handers displayed remarkable application while negotiating Ashwin and Ojha, even showing occasional sign of aggression as MS Dhoni pressed spinners from both ends from the beginning.

The two denied India any success during the first session and even Zaheer Khan couldn’t make any impact under overcast conditions. New Zealand went into the lunch break after their first 50-run partnership for the match but the tide changed in the second session. Umesh Yadav caught McCullum in front two overs after resumption in a somewhat fortuitous fashion as the ball appeared to have got jammed between bat and pad.

The separation of the 119-minute alliance was the opening India needed to rip through the innings. Williamson’s brave resistance ended three overs later and it wasn’t long before the innings folded up. It took just 35.3 overs for Ashwin and Ojha to polish off the rest of the batsmen, some falling in bizarre fashion. None more so than their skipper Ross Taylor who shouldered arms only to be bowled by an Ashwin off-break.

With Ojha maintaining pressure at the other end, Ashwin literally toyed with Kiwi batsmen. He sent down an assortment of doosra, carrom ball and his stock off-break as New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for just 26 runs, the end coming just 24 minutes into post-tea session.

Score board

INDIA (I Innings): 438 all out in 134.2 overs.

NEW ZEALAND (I Innings): 159 all out in 61.3 overs.

NEW ZEALAND (II Innings, following on; O/n: 41/1):

Guptill lbw Ojha    16
(55m, 38b, 3x4)
McCullum lbw Yadav    42
(174m, 130b, 3x4)
Williamson c Sehwag b Ojha    52
(187m, 163b, 4x4)
Taylor b Ashwin    7
(15m, 9b)
Flyn lbw Ashwin    11
(73m, 54b, 1x4)
Franklin c Sehwag b Ashwin    5
(21m, 17b, 1x4)
Van Wyk lbw Ashwin    13
(35m, 34b, 2x4)
Bracewell c Kohli b Ojha    1
(14m, 16b)
Patel (not out)    6
(18m, 9b, 1x4)
Boult c Sehwag b Ashwin    0
(7m, 6b)
Martin lbw Ashwin    0
(1m, 3b)

Extras (B-1, LB-10)    11

Total (all out, 79.5 overs)    164

Fall of wicket: 1-26 (Guptill), 2-98 (McCullum), 3-105 (Taylor), 4-138 (Williamson), 5-142 (Flynn), 6-145 (Franklin), 7-148 (Bracewell), 8-160 (van Wyk), 9-164 (Boult).

Bowling: Ojha 28-9-48-3, Zaheer  Khan 13-5-17-0, Umesh Yadav 10-1-32-1, Ashwin 26.5-9-54-6, Suresh Raina 2-1-2-0.
 

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