Indian spinners rip through NZ order
New Zealand's batting lineup were spun into disarray in Hyderabad, a painfully familiar refrain as they face defeat to India in the first cricket test.
The twirling fingers of Ravichandran Ashwin (3-30) and Pragyan Ojha (2-35) skittled the New Zealand top order as they lurched to 106-5 at stumps on the second day. Kane Williamson's promising knock ended three overs before the close, leaving James Franklin (31 not out) to scale the mountain with another 133 runs needed to avoid the follow-on.
While the tourists were expected to find it tough against the home spinners, the haste of the collapse was jarring. Still, with this confidence-sapped batting lineup, nothing is a huge surprise.
After Brendon McCullum marked his return to opening with a confident 22 off 27 balls, it all changed with left-armer Ojha's introduction in the eighth over. New Zealand's three best batsmen - McCullum, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor - suddenly departed within 32 spinning deliveries.
McCullum drove loosely at Ojha's third offering and rightly looked appalled at his carelessness.
Guptill and Taylor were both defeated by Ashwin's off-spin, each prodding and offering catches off the inside edge. Then Daniel Flynn tried to play positively but attempted one sweep too many.
Ashwin generated some alarming turn, an ominous sign for New Zealand who have to bat again to save the test on a wearing pitch.
At least one New Zealand player, Jeetan Patel, could hold his weary head high after India were dismissed for 438 at tea.
The Wellington off-spinner's career renaissance continued as he wheeled down 41 overs, taking 4-100 in an accurate, disciplined performance.
It could have been even better if his skipper, Taylor, had clung onto Indian captain MS Dhoni low down at slip off the second ball he faced. The let-off enabled Dhoni and centurymaker Cheteshwar Pujara to add 127 for the sixth wicket before Patel removed both in the middle session as they tried to up the tempo.
At 32, Patel's international career appeared in limbo and the last of his 13 tests was against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last November. His test numbers were then 40 wickets at an average of 48.
A recent stint with Warwickshire seemed to rejuvenate Patel and he snared 46 wickets in the English county championship at 22 apiece, arriving in India as New Zealand's top spinner with Daniel Vettori injured and Tarun Nethula still too green.
He didn't match Ashwin's prodigious turn but maintained a tight line, built pressure and fed off some inconsistencies in bounce.
India resumed on 307-5 and a total of 500 looked on as Pujara and Dhoni cantered through the first session. Pujara, in his fourth test, looked unstoppable until a blood rush saw him sky Patel to mid-on, having plundered 159.
Dhoni departed six overs later to a loose drive on 73, and finally New Zealand looked happy with their work as the last four wickets fell for 27.
Left-armer Trent Boult (3-93) was the standout paceman, snaffling Zaheer Khan to go with his prized scalp of Sachin Tendulkar on day one.
India 1st Innings
Gautam Gambhir c van Wyk b Boult 22
Virender Sehwag c Guptill b Bracewell 47
Cheteshwar Pujara c Franklin b Patel 159
Sachin Tendulkar b Boult 19
Virat Kohli c Guptill b Martin 58
Suresh Raina c van Wyk b Patel 3
Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Bracewell b Patel 73
Ravichandran Ashwin st van Wyk b Patel 37
Zaheer Khan c van Wyk b Boult 0
Pragyan Ojha not out 4
Umesh Yadav run out 4
Extras: (6b, 4lb, 2w) 12
TOTAL: (all out) 438Overs: 134.3
Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-77, 3-125, 4-250, 5-260, 6-387, 7-411, 8-414, 9-430.
Bowling: Chris Martin 27-4-76-1 (1w), Trent Boult 27-4-93-3, Doug Bracewell 19.1-1-88-1, James Franklin 13.2-0-40-0 (1w), Jeetan Patel 41-9-100-4, Kane Williamson 9-0-31-0
New Zealand 1st Innings
Brendon McCullum c Kohli b Ojha 22
Martin Guptill c Kohli b Ashwin 2
Kane Williamson c Sehwag b Ojha 32
Ross Taylor c Kohli b Ashwin 2
Daniel Flynn lbw b Ashwin 16
James Franklin not out 31
Kruger van Wyk not out 0
Extras: (1lb) 1
TOTAL: (for five wickets) 106
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-29, 3-35, 4-55, 5-99.
Still to bat: Doug Bracewell, Jeetan Patel, Chris Martin, Trent Boult.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 5-1-20-0, Umesh Yadav 3-0-4-0, Pragyan Ojha 15-4-35-2, Ravichandran Ashwin 14-3-30-3, Virender Sehwag 2-0-4-0, Suresh Raina 2-0-6-0, Sachin Tendulkar 1-0-6-0 .