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Rediff.com  » Cricket » India in command as rain plays spoilsport on Day 3

India in command as rain plays spoilsport on Day 3

Last updated on: August 25, 2012 16:14 IST

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's career-best figures of 6-31 helped India to enforce the follow-on against New Zealand on third day but inclement weather stood in the path of hosts' victory in the first Test being played in Hyderabad on Saturday.

- Scorecard

The New Zealand first innings folded at 159 as Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha three for 44 shared the bulk of the spoils as hosts had a huge 279-run first innings lead.

In the second innings New Zealand were 41 for one when umpires decided to call off play. Only 37.3 overs of play was possible on the day.

Brendon McCullum was batting on 16 in company of Kane Williamson who had scored three. The match was stopped 47 minutes before the scheduled tea-break.

With thick dark clouds hovering over the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, covers were put on for the second time in the day as heavens opened up within minutes.

The heavy showers lasted for more than an hour with puddles of water all around the ground. With no respite in sight, the match officials called off the day's proceedings at 2.56pm.

Call it the BCCI's bizzarre planning to hold a series at a time when the entire country is under the spell of South-West monsoon.

Resuming at 106 for five on day three, the Kiwis lost their remaining wickets at the stroke of lunch with the Ashwin and Ojha wrapping it up in quick time. Only 19.3 overs were required to take the remaining five New Zealand wickets.

R ashwinAshwin returned with brilliant figures of 16.3-3-31-6 to better his previous best of 6/47 against the West Indies. It was his third five-wicket haul.

Ojha was also brilliant, giving Ashwin a perfect support, with three for 44 from his 21 overs that also included six maidens.

India duly enforced the follow-on at lunch after the New Zealand fell short by 80 runs to make the hosts bat again.

James Franklin gave the only resistance from an otherwise shoddy New Zealand display to remain not out on 43.

Yadav gave the first breakthrough in Kruger van Wyk with a delivery that skidded through. Van Wyk went for a pull-shot as the delivery kept low hitting him plumb in-front.

But it were Indian spinners who wreaked havoc as the inexperienced visitors found it very tough to negotiate the variable bounce and turn.

Ojha began the proceedings and had superb first spell figures of 5-1-9-1 as he took his third wicket in the process dismissing Doug Bracewell.

The Kiwi medium-pacer went down the track but missed the line completely for a customary stumping by Dhoni with New Zealand reeling at 141/7.

Ashwin was introduced in the 16th over of the day, and like yesterday, he got into action straightway taking a wicket in his very first over of the day when he dismissed Jeetan Patel with his third delivery.

A brilliant return catch off his own bowling saw Patel back in the dressing room with New Zealand tottering at 153 for eight.

Ashwin was simply unplayable by the New Zealander tail-ender as the off-spinner took two wickets -- Trent Boult and Chris Martin -- in two deliveries to bundle out the visitors, 279 runs shy of India's first innings total.

In their bid to survive, the visiting team openers McCullum and Martin Guptill employed a defensive approach scoring only nine runs in the first 10 overs.

The first boundary of the New Zealand's innings came off the second ball of the 12th over when Guptill punished an Umesh Yadav delivery which was drifting down the leg-side.

In the very next over, Guptill looked to break free as he hit Ojha for two consecutive boundaries before getting a reprieve on 15.

The Kiwi opener was dropped at the second slip by Kohli who dived to his left but could not put his hand behind the ball.

But Guptill failed to hang in there as Ojha dismissed the Kiwi opener in his next over with trapping the batsman in front of the wicket to break the 26-run opening partnership.

Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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