Kolkata, Oct 3: Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja spun India to an unassailable 2-0 lead and the No. 1 ranking in Tests, pinning New Zealand down in a riveting see-saw four-day affair, to win the second cricket Test by 178 runs here on Monday (October 3).
Local boy Wriddhiman Saha was adjudged Man of the Match for his unconquered 54 and 58 in the two Indian innings at the Eden Gardens.
Besides Saha, contributions with the bat by captain Virat Kohli (45) and Rohit Sharma (82) in the second innings helped India post 263 after a top-order collapse threatened to take the match away from them.
But despite the visitors' grit early on in their 376-run chase, they fell to the guile of Indian tweakers once again - similar to the first Test at Kanpur that they lost by 197 runs -- managing a meagre 197 in their seconds outing.
The tourists started their run chase well, riding on opener Tom Latham's (74 not out; 144 balls, 8x4) ninth half-century and contributions from Martin Guptill (24) and Henry Nicolls (24) at the top order.
But post-lunch, the in-form Indian spinners ran through the Kiwi batting. Both Ashwin (3/82) and Jadeja (3/41) made mischief in tandem, joining in the party was the raw pace and swing of Mohammed Shami (3/46), who shaved off the lower order. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/28) claimed the remaining wicket.
Latham departed soon after tea, starting the slide. Ashwin's mastery over his craft was on show as he floated an inviting delivery which forced the opener to drive away from his body giving a nick to wicketkeeper Saha.
Mitchell Santner (9) and BJ Watling (1) followed suit in quick succession, Shami accounting for both the scalps.
Luke Ronchi (32; 60 balls, 4x4) fought briefly before Jadeja accounted for him, castling the 35-year old. Jeetan Patel (2) failed to replicate his first innings form, when he scored a gutsy 47, failing to comprehend the reverse swing generated from a good length ball by Buvneshwar.
Matt Henry (18) and Trent Boult (4) were cleaned up by Jadeja and Shami, respectively.
India take an overall lead of 375 runs
Continuing from their overnight score of 227/8, India were all out for 263 in the second innings early on Day 4 after Mohammad Shami was the last Indian wicket to be dismissed at 1.
After taking a lead of 112 runs in 1st innings, the hosts went on to add 263 runs in the second essay to take an overall lead of 375 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the first wicket India lost on penultimate day. He made 23. (Ind-NZ series schedule)
Kiwis now require to chase 376 runs in six sessions and win the second Test match and level the series. India would now hope their bowlers to wrap up New Zealand innings to take an unassailable lead.
Rohit-Saha-Kohli show resilience on uneven Eden pitch
Earlier on Sunday (October 2), Indian batsmen, mainly skipper Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Saha resisted New Zealand pacers and denied them any further advantage after Kiwis rocked the Indian top order.
Kohli made a gritty 45 while Saha was unbeaten on 39. Saha and Rohit stitched a 103-run partnership. Rohit continued his love affair with the Eden pitch and played a patient knock to steer India from troubled waters.
Today, Saha (54 not out and 58 not out) continued to play a fine innings and slammed his second half century of the match and remained unbeaten on the second ocassion in the match.