HYDERABAD, August 24 (PTI): Indian spinners R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha took full advantage of a spinning track to rip through New Zealand�s top order and put India in the driver�s seat after the second day of their opening Test here today.
In conditions best suited for spinners, Ashwin and Ojha got into the act straightaway to reduce New Zealand to a precarious 106 for five in reply to India�s first innings total of 438, largely built around Cheteshwar Puajara�s 159.
The Kiwis still need 133 runs to avoid the follow on with five wickets in hand and seemed headed for a big defeat with three days left in the match.
After Ojha gave the first breakthrough dismissing an aggressive-looking Brendon McCullum, Ashwin rocked the Kiwis with two wickets from his first two overs. McCullum scored 22 off 27 balls with three boundaries.
Ashwin continued his terrific spell with a third wicket in his fifth over to have the Black Caps reeling at 55 for four as his superb first spell figures read 12-3-28-3. Ojha finished the day with two for 30 to show for his efforts.
Just when New Zealand were looking to build a partnership Ojha broke a 44-run fifth wicket partnership between Kane Williamson and James Franklin by dismissing the former. Williamson scored 32 before returning to the pavilion.
At stumps after the second day�s proceedings, New Zealand trail India by 332 runs with James Franklin batting on 31 from 75 balls with a four and a six while wicketkeeper-batsman Krug van Wyk was yet to open his account after having faced six balls.
vidual scores of 119 and 29 respectively, carried out their good work even as the skipper was troubled by the Kiwi seamers initially.
But Pujara kept his composure and flair intact, looking for quick singles, rotating the strike as by lunch they had put on 111-run together keeping their stand intact.
Dhoni completed his half-century, 25th in 68 Tests, flicking Doug Bracewell towards deep midwicket while Pujara reached to 150 pulling the same bowler through fine-leg boundary in a fine first session for India.
There were a couple of chances too but the expansive New Zealand fielders missed a Dhoni nick off Martin with the ball going past the wicketkeeper (van Wyk) and first slip (Taylor).
Pujara, on 133, got an easy escape from a run-out after he was slow to respond to Dhoni�s call but only to see McCullum fumble at short cover while picking up the ball.
But the script favoured New Zealand post lunch as the visitors had their most fruitful session when they came back taking five wickets including that of Pujara and Dhoni.
Black Caps conceded just 67 runs as India were bundled out for 438 at the stroke of tea.
Soon after lunch, Pujara ran out of patience as he stepped out to mistime offspinner Patel as Franklin backpedalled from mid-on to take an easy catch as his fine innings came to an end.
Patel, who broke the key Indian partnership of Pujara and Dhoni, by taking both their wickets was the leading Kiwi bowler with four for 100.
Dhoni and Zaheer (0) departed in quick succession with India 414 for eight but Ashwin and Ojha frustrated the Kiwis with their dogged approach.
Ashwin chipped in with a 54-ball 37 (5x4) as the off-spinner put on a fine 24-run stand before the skipper got out. India were bundled out after Umesh Yadav ran himself out just ahead of the tea-break.
India 1st innings: G Gambhir c Wyk b Boult 22, V Sehwag c Guptill b Bracewell 47, CA Pujara c Franklin b Patel 159, SR Tendulkar b Boult 19, V Kohli c Guptill b Martin 58, SK Raina c Wyk b Patel 3, MS Dhoni c Bracewell b Patel 73, R Ashwin st Wyk b Patel 37, Z Khan c Wyk b Boult 0, PP Ojha not out 4, UT Yadav run out 4. Extras: (B-6, LB-4, W-2) 12. Total: (all out in 134.3 overs) 438. Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-77, 3-125, 4-250, 5-260, 6-387, 7-411, 8-414, 9-430, 10-438. Bowling: CS Martin 27-4-76-1, TA Boult 27-4-93-3, DAJ Bracewell 19.1-1-88-1-4.59, JEC Franklin 13.2-0-40-0, JS Patel 41-9-100-4, KS Williamson 7-0-31-0.
New Zealand 1st innings: B McCullum c Kohli b Ojha 22, M Guptill c Kohli b Ashwin 2, K Williamson c Sehwag b Ojha 32, R Taylor c Kohli b Ashwin 2, D Flynn lbw b Ashwin 16, J Franklin batting 31, C van Wyk batting 0. Extras: (LB-1) 1. Total: (For 5 wickets in 42 overs) 106. Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-29, 3-35, 4-55, 5-99. Bowling: Z Khan 5-1-20-0, U Yadav 3-0-4-0, P Ojha 15-4-35-2, R Ashwin 14-3-30-3, V Sehwag 2-0-4-0, S Raina 2-0-6-0, S Tendulkar 1-0-6-0.