Ashwin spins India to innings win
India 438 (Pujara 159, Dhoni 73, Patel 4-100) beat New Zealand 159 (Franklin 43* Ashwin 6-31) & 164 (Williamson 52, Ashwin 6-54) by an innings and 115 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
For all that spin bowling is considered an art involving guile and deception, India's spinners took apart the New Zealand batting with the precision of surgeons combined with the calculation of mathematicians. The first Test in Hyderabad had a severely truncated third day and a slightly curtailed fourth, but ended with a day to spare.
India won by an innings and 115 runs, its spinners taking 18 of the 20 wickets to fall. New Zealand, following on in their second innings, were all out for 164 an hour before the scheduled close of play on Sunday, losing their last nine wickets for 66 runs.
At the top of the pile stood R Ashwin, who finished the game with his first ten-wicket bag in Tests, taking 6 for 54 in the second innings and a match tally of 12 for 85 - the best figures for an Indian bowler in Tests versus New Zealand.
Ashwin sent down a repertoire of flighted off-breaks and top-spinners of varing pace, made canny use of his special "carrom" ball. It helped clean up the New Zealand tail, with four still left for the taking after tea. Ashwin got three of the remaining four, two with the carrom ball that leaves the batsman. Ashwin's second-innings tally followed up his 6 for 31 in the first.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha bowled in perfect tandem with Ashwin, both making maximum use of the frequent bite and bounce on the surface, and also the struggle of the New Zealand batsmen against spin. Ojha's match tally was 6 for 92.
The morning session was delayed by two hours due to rain and India's push for victory was resisted handsomely up by a gutsy 72-run second wicket partnership between Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson. They batted all through the 90 minutes before lunch, scoring 51 careful runs and holding off the Indian spinners.
McCullum's departure early on in the second session gave the Indians the opening. New Zealand's last nine wickets fell for 66 runs; it had taken a few pieces of masterful spin to pull the ground out from underneath New Zealand's feet.
It all began when McCullum steamed off when given out leg before in Umesh Yadav's second over after lunch, an inside edge the source of his fury. The sound of the inside edge appeared decisive but replays showed simultaneous points of contact off both bat and pad. McCullum was later reprimanded by the match referee for showing dissent to umpire Steve Davis' decision. McCullum's had been a sagacious innings, the perfect senior colleague in partnership with the 22-year-old Williamson, scoring 32 in close to three hours of batting.
Until then, McCullum had played the assured hand, Williamson taking the risks of trying to drive against the spin. Ashwin tried to lure him into a false stroke. In the first session, the waiting game worked for New Zealand, Williamson driving Ashwin down the ground for a boundary the moment he over pitched. McCullum pulled out his patent pull shot when Ojha bowled one short and on leg stump. It was New Zealand's session in which their batsmen held some control.
After the break, though, came the deluge. If McCullum fell to a somewhat controversial lbw, seven runs later, Ross Taylor shouldered arms to Ashwin, who got the ball to turn and knock the top of his off stump. Williamson - clearly New Zealand's batsman of the entire Test - held his own at the other end, getting to 50 with a steer past third man for three.
With less than half an hour left for tea, Ojha, who had bowled 11 overs non-stop from one end, came in for his second spell of the day. The second ball was a peach: it looped up towards the stumps and drew Williamson forward. As it pitched, it bounced and turned away from him, nibbled at the edge of Williamson's bat and flew to Virender Sehwag at first slip.
Daniel Flynn, who had until then played foil to Williamson, tried to sweep Ashwin in his 54-minute innings for the first time. The end result was identical to his first innings: unequivocally, leg before for 11. Three runs later, Ashwin worked out the dismissal of James Franklin, with five minutes left for tea. Franklin nicked a climbing off break, and Sehwag dived to his right to take a one-handed catch at first slip. Five wickets had fallen for 54 runs in the 30 overs between lunch and tea. Right there, New Zealand's time in the Test match was as good as up.
Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo