BlackCaps downed by India
Mon, 27 Aug 2012 1:27a.m.
By C. Rajshekhar Rao
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned the best test match figures by an Indian bowler against New Zealand to ensure an innings and 115-run victory on the fourth day of the first test.
Ashwin took 6-54 in the second innings to finish with a career-best 12-85 as New Zealand, following on 279 runs behind, was bowled out for 164 on the fourth day at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
New Zealand had scored 159 in its first innings in reply to India's 438.
The previous best bowling performance by an Indian bowler against New Zealand was 12-152 by off-spinner Srinivas Venkatraghavan at New Delhi in 1965.
Ashwin, whose previous best in tests was 9-128 against the West Indies at New Delhi last year, made the most of the spin friendly conditions taking three wickets each in the second and third sessions of the day as New Zealand lost its last seven wickets for only 26 runs.
His victims included captain Ross Taylor (7) and left-handers Daniel Flynn (11) and James Franklin (5). He ensured an early end to the match after New Zealand had fought hard through Kane Williamson (52) and Brendon McCullum (42), who batted through the morning session to add 72 runs for the second wicket.
"I don't get too happy or bogged down by performances, whether it's too bad or great," Ashwin says. "But yes, it's a good start and the pressure is off my back. I can enjoy myself and let the ball do the talking."
Williamson struck a fifth half-century in 15 tests and was by far the most comfortable batsman against spin bowling. The 22-year-old, who had scored a century on his test debut against India at Ahmedabad two years ago, struck four fours during his 163-ball knock.
McCullum showed uncharacteristic restraint during his 130-ball knock in which he hit three fours. He was unlucky to be given out leg-before wicket to pace bowler Umesh Yadav when replays showed that the batsman had got a nick on to the pads.
Taylor followed a little later for seven as he left a delivery from Ashwin only to see the ball come back sharply to uproot his off stump and the off-spinner struck a fine rhythm in which he ran through the batting lineup.
Ashwin was supported well by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who took the important wicket of Williamson, who edged a delivery to Virender Sehwag at first slip. Ojha finished with 3-48 to follow up his first innings effort of 3-44.
But if the New Zealand team slid badly in the second session, there was worse to come in the third.
The last four New Zealand wickets fell in quick succession and the innings folded up just 24 minutes after tea as Ashwin came back to take three of the last four wickets.
"I guess any time you are bowled out for 160 both times, you've got to be disappointed," Taylor says. "Obviously it has to do with a little bit of technique but I think most of it is probably in the mind, trusting your defence and trusting your attacking shots."
Taylor said the Indian spinners had made the most of the turning track.
"Not only Ashwin, Ojha bowled very well too and they bowled well in tandem. They are both very good spinners in turning conditions. They bowled in the right areas for long enough and reaped the rewards," Taylor says.
The second game of the two-test series will be held in Bangalore starting on Aug. 31 and will be followed by two Twenty20 games in the southern cities of Visakhapatnam on Sept. 8 and Chennai on Sept. 11.
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