Patel five-for skittles New Zealand out for 296 as India take lead

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Stumps India 345 and 14 for 1 (Pujara 9*, Agarwal 4*, Jamieson 1-8) lead New Zealand 296 (Latham 95, Young 89, Axar 5-62, Ashwin 3-82) by 63 runs

(CRICINFO) Axar Patel’s dream start to his Test career continued as the left-arm spinner picked up a fifth five-wicket haul in his fourth Test to help India bowl New Zealand out for 296 and take a first-innings lead of 49. On a Kanpur pitch where the ball was keeping low from time to time, Axar reaped the benefit of targeting the stumps and finished with figures of 5 for 62.

The Indian openers needed to survive five overs before the close of play. Kyle Jamieson, though, rattled Shubman Gill’s stumps with the first ball of the second over and reached 50 wickets in only his ninth Test. In doing so, he bettered Shane Bond’s New Zealand record by three matches. The overall record belongs to Charlie Turner of Australia, who took his 50th wicket in his sixth Test.

Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara took India to stumps, extending their lead to 63.

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In the morning, Tom Latham and Will Young resumed for New Zealand in the same resolute manner they displayed on the second day, and stretched their opening stand to 151. But once that partnership was broken, the visitors lost their next nine wickets for 99 runs to be bowled out for 296.

Axar had a big hand in that collapse. Bowling with the second new ball in the afternoon session, he dismissed Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and Latham while conceding only 14 runs in an 11-over spell as New Zealand slipped from 214 for 2 to 227 for 5.

Taylor, who is playing his first international match since the World Test Championship final in June, had a slice of luck early on when he came down the track to Axar only to inside-edge the ball between his legs. But KS Bharat, substituting for Wriddhiman Saha who has a stiff neck, failed to latch on to it.

Axar, though, wasn’t to be denied for long. A few overs later, he drew Taylor’s outside edge and Bharat didn’t make any mistake this time. In his next over, he had Nicholls lbw as the batter missed the slog sweep. Nicholls reviewed the decision, hoping the impact would be outside the off stump, but it turned out to be umpire’s call.

As wickets fell at one end, Latham inched towards his hundred at the other. He was on 95 when he stepped out to Axar only for the ball to turn, bounce and hit him on the gloves, and bounce towards the wicketkeeper. Bharat collected it and broke the stumps with Latham stranded a fair way down.

After tea, Axar returned to end Tom Blundell’s resistance with a delivery that scooted underneath the bat and clattered into the stumps. Blundell consumed 94 balls for his 13. Tim Southee became his fifth wicket, bowled while playing for the angle and the ball holding its line.

Axar Patel shows off the ball after he returned a five-wicket haul BCCI

Jamieson worked hard to take New Zealand closer to India’s first-innings total but holed out in deep for 23 while trying to take on R Ashwin. The last pair frustrated India for a while before Ashwin bowled William Somerville, who fought for 52 balls for 6 runs, to wrap up the innings.

India had started the day with their two most experienced bowlers, Ishant Sharma and Ashwin. Young and Latham didn’t find it easy to score against them, though Young skipped down the track against Ashwin a couple of times, hitting him over mid-on for four on one occasion. But, otherwise, both batters were forced to wait for the rare loose delivery.

Luck too seemed to be on New Zealand’s side. Ishant and Ashwin drew the outside edges of Young and Latham respectively, and while Young’s went for four through the gap between wide slip and gully, Latham’s fell short of Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

With the breakthrough still elusive, Ashwin switched from around the wicket to over the wicket. The move worked as he had Young edging one behind on 89, with Bharat taking an excellent catch staying low.

Ashwin could have had Latham too. The bowler did everything right: tossed the ball up, got it to spin past the outside edge and hit the batter on the pad. Umpire Nitin Menon, though, turned down the vociferous appeal for lbw and India chose not to review. Replays showed Latham would have been on his way back had they done so. He was on 66 then.

A little later, Menon and Ashwin were involved in what seemed like a chat about Ashwin’s follow-through. When bowling from around the wicket, the offspinner was delivering from close to the stumps and then moving across towards the left-hander’s leg side to avoid stepping on to the danger area. In the process, he seemed to be obstructing the umpire’s view and that of the non-striker too. India’s coach Rahul Dravid, too, was seen making a visit to match referee Javagal Srinath’s room.

Kane Williamson had walked in with three men around the bat, and after a few watchful moments, struck two fours in Jadeja’s one over. But in the last over before lunch, Umesh Yadav got one to nip back with the second new ball and pinged Williamson on the back leg. The New Zealand captain decided to review the lbw decision, but replays showed the ball would have hit the top of middle stump.



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