Less than half a day’s play was possible on the third day of the first Test between New Zealand and India in Hyderabad as heavy rain delayed the start and then forced a premature close just an hour after lunch. In the play that was possible, New Zealand slipped further into the mire and closed on 41 for one in their second innings after being asked to follow-on.
Resuming on 106 for five in their first innings, India’s spin pair of R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha resumed their tormenting of the visitors’ batsmen and had them dismissed for 159. New Zealand’s overnight pair of James Franklin and Kruger van Wyk had begun the day against the seam of Umesh Yadav and Zaheer Khan, but it wasn’t long before the spinners were introduced by MS Dhoni. Yadav had accounted for van Wyk in the second over of the day, but the Blacks Caps’ lower-order looked truly helpless upon the introduction of Ojha.
Doug Bracewell was the first to succumb: Ojha enticed him down the track and into a wild waft, only for Bracewell to miss the ball altogether and have his stumps rearranged by Dhoni. Jeetan Patel hung around for a handful of overs, but he was sent on his way by the third umpire, who was called upon to adjudicate on a caught and bowled chance claimed by Ashwin. Ashwin then dispensed with Trent Boult for four and Chris Martin first ball as the New Zealand innings ended in a hurry and Ashwin found himself with figures of six for 31.
New Zealand’s openers fared considerably better second time around, playing circumspectly against Ojha – who had been promoted to opening the bowling by Dhoni – Zaheer and Yadav. Ojha eventually claimed the wicket of Martin Guptill for 16 in the 15th over as he fell victim to a marginal leg-before decision from Ian Gould. Kane Williamson joined Brendon McCullum and the two negotiated the remaining 15 deliveries until the drinks break without further loss of wicket. An over after that the rains returned and play was abandoned for the day.
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