HYDERABAD, August 25 (PTI): Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin�s career-best figures of six for 31 helped India easily enforce the follow-on against New Zealand on third day but inclement weather stood in the path of hosts� victory in the first cricket Test being played here today.
The New Zealand first innings folded at 159 as Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, who took three for 44, shared the bulk of the spoils as hosts had a hige 279-run first innings lead.
In their second innings, New Zealand were 41 for one when umpires decided to call off play. Only 37.3 overs of play was possible today.
Brendon McCullum was batting on 16 in company of Kane Williamson, who had scored three. The match was stopped 47 minutes before the scheduled tea-break.
New Zealand still require 239 runs to erase the deficit which looks highly unlikely until the �Weather Gods� intervene like it did today.
With thick dark clouds hovering over the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, covers were put on for the second time in the day as heavens opened up within minutes.
The heavy showers lasted for more than an hour with puddles of water all around the ground. With no respite in sight, the match officials called off the day�s proceedings at 2.56pm.
Call it the BCCI�s bizzare planning to hold a series at a time when the entire country is under the spell of South-West monsoon.
Resuming at 106 for five on day three, the Kiwis lost their remaining wickets at the stroke of lunch with the �spin twins� Ashwin and Ojha wrapping it up in quick time. Only 19.3 overs were required to take the remaining five New Zealand wickets.
Ashwin returned with brilliant figures of 16.3-3-31-6 to better his previous best of 6/47 against the West Indies. It was his third five-wicket haul.
Ojha was also brilliant, giving Ashwin a perfect support, with three for 44 from his 21 overs that also included six maidens.
India duly enforced the follow-on at lunch after the New Zealand fell short by 80 runs to make the hosts bat again.
James Franklin gave the only resistance from an otherwise shoddy New Zealand display to remain not out on 43 (122 balls; 1x4, 1x6).
Yadav gave the first breakthrough in Kruger van Wyk with a delivery that skidded through. Van Wyk went for a non-existent pull-shot as the delivery kept low hitting him plumb in-front.
But it were Indian spinners who wreaked havoc as the inexperienced visitors found it very tough to negotiate the variable bounce and turn.
Ojha began the proceedings and had superb first spell figures of 5-1-9-1 as he took his third wicket in the process dismissing Doug Bracewell.
The Kiwi medium-pacer went down the track but missed the line completely for a customary stumping by Dhoni with New Zealand reeling at 141/7.
Ashwin was introduced in the 16th over of the day, and like yesterday, he got into action straightway taking a wicket in his very first over of the day when he dismissed Jeetan Patel with his third delivery.
A brilliant return catch off his own bowling saw Patel back in the dressing room with New Zealand tottering at 153 for eight.
Ashwin was simply unplayable by the New Zealander tail-ender as the off-spinner took two wickets � Trent Boult and Chris Martin � in two deliveries to bundle out the visitors, 279 runs shy of India�s first innings total.
India 1st innings : 438
New Zealand 1st innings (overnight 106-5): B McCullum c Kohli b Ojha 22, Guptill c Kohli b Ashwin 2, Williamson c Sehwag b Ojha 32, Taylor c Kohli b Ashwin 2, Flynn lbw b Ashwin 16, Franklin not out 43, Van Wyk lbw b Yadav 0, Bracewell st Dhoni b Ojha 17, Patel c and b Ashwin 10, Boult c Gambhir b Ashwin 4, Martin b Ashwin 0; Extras (B-4, LB-7) 11; Total (for all out, 61.3 overs): 159; Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-29, 3-35, 4-55, 5-99, 6-111, 7-141, 8-153, 9-159; Bowling: Zaheer 11-4-33-0, Yadav 8-0-24-1, Ojha 21-6-44-3, Ashwin 16.3-5-31-6, Sehwag 2-0-4-0, Raina 2-0-6-0, Tendulkar 1-0-6-0.
New Zealand 2nd innings (following on): Guptill lbw b Ojha 16; B McCullum not out 16; Williamson not out 3; Extras (LB 6) : 6; Total (for one wicket in 18 overs): 41; Fall of wickets: 1-26; Bowling: Ojha 9-4-13-1, Zaheer 5-2-4-0, Yadav 3-0-13-0, Ashwin 1-0-5-0.