Ashwin, Axar star as India need five more wickets to win

MUMBAI: Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged three wickets to put New Zealand on the back foot, chasing 540 on the third day of the second test, here on Sunday.

The Indian batters’ combined effort enabled India set a massive total of 540 on Day 3 of the second Test, which began at 69-0. Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara got the team off to a good start, putting on a century stand before Mayank was removed by Ajaz Patel on 62.

Ajaz dismissed Pujara for 47 runs, and the team was relegated to 115/2. However, Indian captain Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill put on a solid 82-run partnership to keep things under control. Rachin Ravindra dismissed Shubman on 47.

Soon after, Shreyas Iyer and Wriddhiman Saha were cheaply returned to the pavilion; Virat was also castled by Rachin on his individual score of 36. India lost six wickets for a total of 236 runs. Later, Axar Patel’s magnificent 41-run knock, enabled India post a massive total of 540 for the Kiwis.

Ajaz was the Kiwis’ star bowler once again, taking four wickets in the second innings. Rachin struck out three batters.

Chasing 540, Kiwi openers failed to get the team off to a good start, losing their first wicket with only 13 runs on the board. The standing skipper Tom Latham fell victim to Ashwin on six. Will Young, too, was quickly ousted by Ashwin for his individual score of 20. Soon after, Ashwin cheaply sent veteran Kiwi batter Ross Taylor back to the pavilion. The first three wickets of the team were taken for only 55 runs.

Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls, on the other hand, played sensible knocks and appeared to be in fine shape. Before Mitchell fell short on 60 against Axar, the duo contributed 73 runs to the team’s total. The wicket-keeper batter, Tom Blundell made his way back to the pavilion on a duck after being run-out. Black Caps lost half of their side on 129.

Nicholls (36*) and Rachin (2*) will resume the run chase for the Kiwis at 140/5 on day-four, the side need miraculous 400 runs to win. Whereas, India are five wickets away from the victory.

Ashwin bagged three wickets for just 27 runs while Axar struck out a batter.

READ: India finish twisting Day 2 of second Test against New Zealand at 69-0