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Ashwin strikes keep India on course for win

Indian players celebrating the wicket of Ross Taylor
Indian players celebrating the wicket of Ross Taylor
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 318 & 377-5 dec (Pujara 78) v
New Zealand 262 & 93-4 (Ronchi 38no)
First Test, Kanpur, day four

Ravichandran Ashwin rattled the New Zealand top order with a triple strike in the second innings to restrict them to 93 for four after the batsmen set a target of 434 runs on the fourth day of the first Test in Kanpur.

Earlier in the day, unbeaten fifties from Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja were crucial in India putting up a total of 377 for five in the second innings before the declaration came after 107.2 overs.

Resuming on the overnight score of 159 for one, Cheteshwar Pujara (78) and Murali Vijay (76) saw out nine overs before the latter was trapped LBW by Mitchell Santner (2-79).

After getting in at one end, Virat Kohli (18) holed out at deep midwicket in the 68th over, giving Mark Craig (1-80) his 50th Test scalp. A little while later, Ish Sodhi (2-99) did Pujara in by having him caught in the slips.

Ajinkya Rahane (40) and Sharma (68 not out) stretched India’s lead past 300 and took the team to 252 for four in 81 overs at the lunch interval.

A little while into the second session, Rahane was dismissed by Santner. Jadeja (50 not out) joined hands with Sharma, who went past 1000 Test runs.

The pair added an unbeaten 100-run stand for the sixth wicket and completed their respective fifties in the process while taking the lead past 400.

Finally, in the 108th over, India declared with the score reading 377 for five while giving New Zealand a target of 434 runs.

New Zealand were rattled early in the innings as Ashwin (3-68) struck twice in the fourth over to remove Martin Guptill (0) and Tom Latham (2).

Kane Williamson (25) and Ross Taylor (17) added 40 runs in 14 overs to provide some resistance. The stand was broken in the 18th over when Ashwin had Williamson trapped LBW to claim his 200th Test wicket, becoming the second fastest to reach the landmark in Test cricket history.

Three overs later, Taylor failed to ground his bat properly and was run out, leaving New Zealand at 56 for four.

Luke Ronchi (38 not out) and Santner (8 not out) then patiently added an unbeaten 37-run stand in 15.3 overs to take New Zealand safely to stumps with the score reading 93 for four.

At the end of the fourth day’s play, New Zealand still needed 341 runs to win with six wickets in hand.

© Cricket World 2016