India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 3rd day September 2, 2012

Match in the balance after eventful day


New Zealand 365 and 232 for 9 (Franklin 41, Ashwin 5-69) lead India 353 (Kohli 103, Dhoni 62, Southee 7-64) by 244 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A teetering third day had the second Test in Bangalore turn into a second innings shoot-out. As it stands at stumps on day three, New Zealand are 232 for 9, with a lead of 244 and a single wicket remaining for them before India can launch themselves into their target.

It must be remembered though that, while the Indians did record the highest successful chase at the Chinnaswamy Stadium during the last Test held here in 2010, that target against Australia was merely 207.

A clatter of wickets in the last hour of play, after a 55-run sixth partnership, meant that New Zealand lost nine wickets over the course of two sessions, their highest scorer being James Franklin (41). It was the fall of his wicket with less than half an hour remaining, to an extravagant stride down the wicket to an R Ashwin off break, that set in motion the New Zealand lower order slide.

It gave Ashwin his third five-for in four innings in the series so far. His 5 for 69 has continued to build his reputation as a wicket-taker, partnership breaker and tail demolisher in home Tests.

The Bangalore wicket did not offer the extravagant turn sought by MS Dhoni due to what he called the labours of Hyderabad. Neither was it a disintegrating surface or one offering uneven bounce on the third day. Yet, 14 wickets fell in what was undeniably a bowler's day. What started with Tim Southee's 7 for 64, ensuring that India lost its last five wickets for 52 runs, ended with New Zealand's collapse, backed by the trickery of quality spin as well as poor strokes and bad timing.

The lower order has kept both teams in the game so far; if the five remaining India batsmen have 52 runs to their credit this morning, it was largely because of a handy tenth-wicket partnership of 33 between Ashwin and Umesh Yadav. Add those runs to the New Zealand lead and it would end up as daunting. If New Zealand could push their lead ahead past the 200 mark it came about because of a half-century stand between Franklin and Kruger van Wyk for the sixth wicket for over an hour after tea. Take that away - along with Doug Bracewell's 22 - from the New Zealand total and India would consider themselves favourites to win on Monday.

In the last hour of play, the Franklin-van Wyk partnership came to an end in Ashwin's second spell after tea. Ashwin had removed Flynn in his third over after tea, and had van Wyk leg before with one that sneaked past his bat and hit him low on the pad.

It was the dismissal of Franklin though that may have critically reduced the fourth-innings target, because even at seven down, the batsmen looked in control. The close of play was not so far away, Bracewell was proving good company, and the lead had climbed past 225. A rush of blood was to end Franklin's two-hour long vigil. He charged out to Ashwin, missed the ball completely and was stumped for 41. New Zealand were to lose three wickets for six runs.

Southee's morning spell had given New Zealand a chance to take control of the Test. All that their batsmen had to do was to come close to replicating their first innings performance. Instead, the top three could manage only 69 runs between them. The openers, who had added 30, were out to Umesh Yadav just after lunch, Guptill going for a somewhat flashy, rather lazy shot on the first ball he faced after lunch and edging it to the leg stump. Yadav opened his next over by getting Brendon McCullum caught behind; Kane Williamson went after the drinks break - nicking to slip - and Taylor before tea, dismissed exactly like in the first innings - leg before trying to sweep Pragyan Ojha.

The drama of the morning, however, had Southee pressing on with a nine-over spell that had him take four of the last five Indian wickets. The new ball swung, and four wickets fell in three successive Southee overs. These included the wickets of Virat Kohli and Dhoni, both leg before, misreading the ball coming into them. Television replays showed that a disguised scrambled seam could have led Kohli to pad up, not offering a shot. Dhoni was out to a similar delivery, trying to hit the ball onto the on side. Southee then removed Zaheer Khan and Pragyan Ojha in one over, before a stubborn tenth-wicket partnership clipped New Zealand's lead to 12.

The match goes into its fourth day with the knowledge that one team is going to be left cursing its lack of runs.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • narsimha on September 3, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    BRAVO-BRAVO - Yaa , just waite & see , with in few moths who stays where , we will surly be in top by next year .

  • narsimha on September 3, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    MOHMMADALI- Why this comparision , we are not sreaming at the top of our throats that ASHWIN is next big thing WE ARE HAPPY THAT at last we got aplayer with substance, u r so called best bowler didnothing against top teams in AUS, ENG all thier wickets are at at UAE , even failed in SL , SO MY DEAR not demeaing coments against each others , we are enjoying matches at UAE , hope u will also do the same .

  • narsimha on September 3, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Well played NZ, SAOUTHEE is awesome , very sportive wicket we need this type of wickets , which offers some thing for fast bowlers , spinners , bats men as well , i will not mourn even if NZ going to win this match , they deserve the way they batted bowlled in this match, at the other hand INDIA needs to address some serious setbacks particularly in fast bowling , it is foolish to asume our spinners will bail out us in every match particularly out side subcontinent .

  • Dummy4 on September 3, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    Great show Ashwin. You have shut the mouths of your critics with your ball and bat as well. you have sealed your place in Indian side atleast for some time from now. Prove yourself outside India too so that your critics who r waiting for chance to bash you and could not digest your success wont even open their mouth again.

  • Srinivasan on September 3, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Irresponsible batting by the kiwis on a good pitch. New Zealand should look for a good batsman for the over- rated Brendon Mcallum. Also poor shot selection by Ross Taylor on the both the innings.

  • Rajiv on September 3, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    @Mervo: Yes u r right to an extent. Aussie wickets are spin friendly like indian wickets are pace friendly. In the most recent test series vs Ind none of the wickets u mentioned were spin friendly. All spinners struggled. Ashwin was shown mediocre because of lack of runs from indian batsman. Our batting let us down. I want to correct you on another thing you said. Ashwin wasn't mediocre in English wickets as he was not in the squad for tests.In ODI's you can tell Jonathan Trott how mediocre Ashwin was in England. English players were found out against spin in ODI's. They struggled to read Ashwin and was playing him out. Ashwin was forced to bowl flat because of lack of runs in Aus. Time will tell. For now he is performing well and is not afraid to attack. I agree he was a bit on the shorter side in Aus as he had no option but to bowl flat. He is an aggressive bowler and is young and inexperienced. Give him the benefit of doubt.

  • Satish on September 3, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    Southee waas just awesome to look when bowling. The way he setup Kohli was classic and deliveries to Zak and Ojha were too good. Lovely to see fast bowlers bowling like this in SC. Kudos to Bangalore curator to produce a good wicket - to nature too for maintaining conditions which made it possible to achieve it. Thrilling game and wish it lives its billing on the fourth day - last day in all probability..

  • Satish on September 3, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @Mervo : Ash NEVER played tests in England. And, Australia - he was 3 tests old. We all know how the conditions were aiding the spinners in that series. Let us leave the comparison stuffs alone. What matters is, he performs when the conditions aids him like most of good bowlers.

  • Merv on September 3, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    Kaushiktrendy - not correct. Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney are all big turning wickets these days. Ashwin was a very mediocre performer across the three tests in Australia. His batting was far better than his bowling. Opening the new ball bowling with a spinner, as in the current test against NZ, is an admission that - either India has no pace bowlers - or the wickets are not made of turf, but rolled mud to suit only a certain type of bowler. Neither is a good sign for India's future in test cricket.

  • Merv on September 3, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    So Ashwin was the fastest Indian to 50 wickets. That is amazing as he was completely innocuous on Australian and English wickets, even the turners, and there are plenty.

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