Ravichandran Ashwin claimed six wickets in the second innings as India recorded a 197-run win vs New Zealand in their historic 500th Test at Kanpur to assert their supremacy in home conditions, bowling out New Zealand for 236 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. At a precarious 93 for four, overnight New Zealand batsmen Luke Ronchi (80) and Mitchell Santner (71) faced the Indian bowlers for only 20 overs by adding 65 runs in the morning session.
The Black Caps raised hopes of a fight till the time Ronchi and Santner held the fort but it all went upside down for them when the former played an extravagant slog sweep off Ravindra Jadeja, handing India the opening.
Ashwin (6/132) completed his fifth six-wicket haul by adding scalps of Santner and Ish Sodhi (17) and Neil Wagner (0) and had become the second-fastest man to take 200-Test wickets while grabbing three wickets on Sunday.
Jadeja took one wicket on Monday while Mohammed Shami, who got some reverse swing, scalped two batsmen in the morning session.
The Kiwis struggled to negotiate a slow track, which had offered occasional turn and bounce but improved as the match wore on. The visitors, chasing a mammoth 434-run target, had been a daunting task at hand to bat out three full sessions on the fifth day, which has always been a big challenge.
With this win, India has inched closer to the No.1 spot in the ICC Test rankings. Virat Kohli’s men need to win this series to go on the top in the list. After the Kolkata Test, the two teams will travel to Indore for the series finale, which is scheduled from October 8.
"The boys applied themselves really well. Initially we had the momentum with the bat, but a couple of soft dismissals put pressure. Jadeja and Ashwin added crucial runs. I am still pretty early in my captaincy career, I look forward to advice from others. There have been cases where we've gone on one mode and the runs were leaked. All the sides that are doing well around the world have strong lower-middle orders. That's one area that we have improved and we need to keep working it because those 30-40 extra runs could prove crucial," Vrat Kohli, Indian Captain said.
"India outplayed us with bat and ball. Restricting India to 300 odd on a good batting surface was a good effort, but at the end of the day India were certainly the better team. The way Santner applied himself with both bat and ball was impressive and the way Luke Ronchi came back into the side was good to see. We look forward to another challenge in Kolkata," Kane Williamson, New Zealand Captain said.