Ashwin-Jadeja combine to give India, a lead in the three-Test series : Team India lead the ongoing three-Test series against New Zealand by winning the first Test (500th Test for India) at Green Park, Kanpur, by a margin of 197 runs.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli said, “Looks like a pretty good wicket for day one. The start has been good in West Indies, preparation has been really good, the intensity is really high. Part of the 500th Test, I couldn”t even imagine I”d be captaining it. I am grateful and honoured”.
His counterpart, Kane Williamson said, “Would have been nice (to bat). Fairly dry surface. Preparation”s been good. Acclimatised to the heat in Delhi, but I supposed the wicket looks a little bit different. Exciting young team. We”ve got some world-class seamers who have shown their skills for a long period of time. Three spinners, Boult and Wagner are the seamers.”
The hosts piled up a huge 318 runs in the first innings. Openers, KL Rahul (32) and Murali Vijay (65) gave a wonderful start, unless the young Rahul, fell to a ‘quicker through the air’ delivery from Mitchell Santner that jerked away. Rahul, who was far back in his crease, played for the trajectory. The ball took the top edge and landed safely into the gloves of the wicket-keeper, Bradley-John Watling. The team score was 42 runs.
Vijay, however, continued the journey along with Cheteswar Pujara, and the duo added 112 runs for the second wicket. Pujara, who is generally, considered to be a slow scorer, faced 109 balls in an innings that lasted 146 minutes and scored 62 runs, at a strike rate of 56.88 and became the second victim of Mitchell Santer.
Pujara, who wanted to play as straight as possible, a delivery that was pushed through the middle and leg stump, only succeeded in popping it up back to the bowler who made no mistake. India reached 154 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Vijay reached his half-century facing 119 balls with six 4s while Pujara registered his half-ton in 83 balls with seven hits to the fence.
Eventually in the 59th over of the innings, Vijay fell trying to cut Ish Sodhi, feathered a catch to the ever-agile wicket-keeper, Watling, who took a wonderful catch very low down.
Thereafter a good partnership of 52 runs for the sixth-wicket between Rohit Sharma (35) and Ravichandran Ashwin (50) and another 41 runs for the tenth-wicket between Ravindra Jadeja (42*) and Umesh Yadav (9) helped India notch up 318 runs in the first knock.Both Jadeja and Ashwin, having displayed their batting prowess, had a lot to do with the ball.
This they did with alacrity, as they restricted the visitors to a score of 262 runs. But for a significant partnership of 124 runs for the second wicket between the skipper Kane Williamson (75) and Tom Latham (58), no significant contribution came up from any other Kiwi batsmen.Indian spin duo of Jadeja and Ashwin kept the batsmen under check and guessing. They kept on picking wickets at regular intervals.
Ashwin ended the innings the analysis of 30.5-7-93-4 while his compatriot Jadeja finished with a ‘fifer’. He had claimed the wickets of Ross Taylor (0), Luke Ronchi (38), Mark Craig (2), Ish Sodhi (0) and Trent Boult (0). Jadeja had bowled 34 overs, 7 of them being maidens and gave away 73 runs in the process.
Taking a lead of 56 runs, Team India further added 377 runs in their second knock with huge contributions from Murali Vijay (76), Cheteshwar Pujara (78), Ajinkya Rahane (40), Rohit Sharma (68*). Jadeja played another crucial role with the bat in the second innings by scoring an unbeaten half-century (50*) and in the process establishing an unbroken partnership of 100* runs for the sixth-wicket alongwith Rohit Sharma.
Chasing a huge target of 434 runs for a win, the Kiwis succumbed to the guile of Ravichandran Ashwin. Only Luke Ronchi (80) and Mitchell Santner (71) provided some kind of resistance. Their partnership of 102 runs for the sixth wicket enabled their team to reach 236 runs but eventually lost the match by a margin of 197 runs.
Ashwin finished the innings with the analysis of 35.3-5-132-6 and ended with the match figure of 65.8-12-225-10. This was his fifth ‘ten-wicket’ haul in 37 Test matches (68 innings).
Jadeja, in the second innings, could pick up only the wicket of Luke Ronchi but ended the match with the analysis of 68-24-131-6.
However, for the all round performance of Jadeja in the match, both with the bat (42* and 50*) and with the ball (5 wickets and 1 wicket), he was adjudged the Player of the Match.
The all-rounder duo of Ashwin and Jadeja have once again proved that they are a lethal combination and literally unplayable under ‘home’ conditions.
Team India go into the second Test match at the iconic Eden Gardens, Kolkata with a clear 1-0 lead in the series.