Sports, Cricket

India need five wickets after top order, Ashwin shine


Published : 05 Dec 2021 09:27 PM | Updated : 07 Dec 2021 11:55 AM

Ajaz Patel bagged 14 of the 17 Indian wickets to fall in the Mumbai Test, but the hosts continued to boss the game, setting New Zealand an improbable 540 after declaring on 276 for 7. R Ashwin then cracked open the visitors' top order, leaving his side five wickets away from victory at stumps on the third day.

Ajaz had finished with 14 for 225 - the best match figures against India in Tests - and finally found a modicum of support from Rachin Ravindra, the other left-arm fingerspinner, who picked up three wickets.

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However, there wasn't as much support on the batting front for Daryl Mitchell, who led New Zealand's resistance with an assured 60 off 92 balls. Mitchell, who batted at No.3 again in the injury-enforced absence of Kane Williamson, was either right forward or right back to India's spin trio. He often jumped out of the crease and upset the lengths like how Mayank Agarwal had done earlier in the match.

Mitchell put together 73 for the fourth wicket with Henry Nicholls, who was contrastingly skittish at various points. He missed an inswinger from Umesh Yadav in the 26th over and survived an lbw because India decided against a review of the on-field not-out decision. Three overs later, Wriddhiman Saha missed a stumping chance, but the reprieve didn't matter in the end as Jayant Yadav had overstepped. Soon after, Ashwin beat Nicholls' outside edge three times in a row with a delightful cocktail of flight, dip, turn and angle.

Ashwin was in similar top form with the new ball. He pinned Tom Latham lbw and had Will Young caught at short leg either side of the tea break. Ross Taylor threw his bat at every ball before a hare-brained slog-sweep off an Ashwin offbreak saw him holing out for six off eight balls.

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