1st Test, Day 3: Vijay, Pujara hit fifties as India reach 159/1 at stumps

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Kanpur, Sep 24: Team India sat in driver's seat against New Zealand at the end of third day's play in the first Test match here on Saturday (Sep 24). 

Match Scorecard; Ind-NZ series schedule; Day 2 Report

Opener Murali Vijay along with Cheteshwar Pujara kept the score board ticking in the final session of the day and took India's score to 159 for the loss of one wicket at stumps.

1st Test, Day 3: Vijay, Pujara consolidate India's lead after spinners rout NZ batters

Both Pujara and Vijay slammed their respective and second consecutive half-centuries of the match to give hosts an overall lead of 215 runs over Kiwis.

Vijay was unbeaten at 64 while Pujara made 50 when the final session of the game came to an end. India lost only wicket in opener KL Rahul (38) just before tea.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand batsmen fell into Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja's spin trap and were all out for 262 in the first innings.

Jadeja finished with yet another five-for, while Ashwin took four wickets India dominated New Zealand on third day of the historic 500th Test. The spinners together accounted for 9 wickets to give the hosts, a 56-run-lead by the first innings.

The left-arm-spinner was pick of the Indian bowlers, who kept troubling Kiwis from his very first over of the day, claimed a triple-wicket maiden to put India at the top. 

Indian bowlers came back strongly on third day, after they were pushed to the wall by New Zealand batsmen Kane Williamson and Tom Latham. Skipper Virat Kohli's decision of starting the day's proceedings with spinners, thus, paid off well for the hosts.

R Ashwin

The Kiwis started their day's play at 152/1 and were wrapped up at 262. 

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New Zealand started the bright and sunny day at a strong 152 for one but Indian spinners claimed three wickets in the space of 29 balls to send the visitors on the back-foot.

Ashwin removed both the overnight batsmen -- Tom Latham (58) and captain Kane Williamson (75) -- while left-arm spinner Jadeja got rid of dangerman Ross Taylor (0) and Luke Ronchi (38) as the Green Park pitch offered turn and bounce this morning.

Ronchi, who had warmed up for the series with a century in the Delhi practice game, went about his business fearlessly as he drove and cut Ashwin to boundary ropes with confidence.

With his fearless approach, he steadied the Kiwi innings along with Mitchell Santner (28 batting), who was sent ahead of much-experienced BJ Watling. They added 49 runs for the fifth wicket before Jadeja trapped Ronchi with a full length delivery.

Ronchi, who hit six boundaries in his 83-ball innings, tried to sweep but the delivery was too full for that shot. Since the final session was washed out yesterday, the match began 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled start today.

India took the new ball immediately after completing 80 overs but did not get success as the Kiwis trail by 80 runs.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ashwin provided India the first breakthrough by trapping Latham in the fifth over of the day. It was a straight ball that struck the pads of Latham, who lunged forward to block it.

The Kiwis had added only seven runs to their overnight total at that time. With that dismissal, the 124-run partnership between Williamson and Latham ended.

The Kiwis had hardly settled when Jadeja, who was getting good turn and bounce, sent back Taylor, who also tried to defend on the frontfoot but was caught in line.

After two quick blows, the Kiwis needed Williamson to stay but Ashwin saw the back of rival captain with a peach of a delivery that turned sharply from outside off to hit the stumps.

Ashwin and Jadeja had bowled testing 10 overs in tandem when India captain Virat Kohli brought part-timer Murali Vijay into the attack to bowl his off-breaks, replacing Jadeja.

Perhaps the rationale behind the move was that New Zealanders' footwork was cagey against off-spin and a left-hander in Santner was also at the crease.

However, the pressure, which was created by Ashwin and Jadeja got released.

Further, introduction of paceman Umesh Yadav into the attack brought relief for the visitors, since handling the pace was much easier than the spin.


OneIndia News 

(With inputs from agencies)

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