Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web around New Zealand’s batsmen to capture six wickets as India enforced the follow-on before rain halted their charge to victory on day three of their opening Test yesterday.
Off-spinner Ashwin took six-for-31, his best Test innings haul, while Pragyan Ojha picked up three wickets to skittle New Zealand all out for 159 in their first innings on the stroke of lunch, giving India a first-innings lead of 279 runs.
Left-arm spinner Ojha, who opened the bowling in the second innings, picked up opener Martin Guptill (16) after India decided to enforce the follow-on with the threat of rain disruptions during the remaining two days.
The visitors were 41 for one in their second innings, still trailing India by 238 runs, before heavy rain forced play to be called off for the rest of the day.
Brendon McCullum (16) and Kane Williamson (three) were at the crease for the visitors.
Only 37.3 overs could be bowled yesterday after play started an hour late due to morning showers leaving the outfield damp.
New Zealand, resuming on 106-for-five, lost a wicket in the second over of the day when Umesh Yadav picked up the only wicket by a paceman in the innings by dismissing Kruger van Wyk for a duck.
Ojha added the wicket of Doug Bracewell (17) to his overnight tally of two before Ashwin was brought into the attack by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Ashwin, who took three wickets on Friday, wasted no time and took a low return catch to dismiss Jeetan Patel in his first over of the day for his fourth wicket in the innings.
He then struck twice in successive deliveries to send back Trent Boult (four) and Chris Martin (zero) to end New Zealand’s first innings.
Only left-hander James Franklin (43 not out) offered some resistance, with only two New Zealand batsmen facing more than 27 deliveries.