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Friday, April 19, 2024

Ojha removes Williamson

NEW DELHI: R Ashwin dismissed New Zealand captain with a beauty of a delivery as the Kiwis lost their third wicket on the fourth day of the first Test at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.Ashwin bowled an off-spinner with nice flight and turn from the wicket, Taylor shouldered his arms to let it through but the ball curled back in to hit the top of off stump.India got a lucky breakthrough after lunch when Brendon McCullum was adjudged out leg before wicket off Umesh Yadav despite an inside edge.Yadav bowled a full length delivery around off, curling into the batsman with the shine, McCullum got on the front foot to defend but missed and was hit on the pads. Indians appealed and umpire Steve Davis raised his finger.An unhappy McCullum walked off the field shaking his head as he had curbed his natural instincts to score 42 runs off 130 deliveries.McCullum and Williamson batted patiently in the first session of the day to defy India and take their score to 92/1.Start of play on the fourth day was delayed by 90 minutes due to rain.On Day 3, to the utter delight of the Kiwis, a heavy downpour in the post-lunch session saved the visitors the blushes. With two more days to go and still 238 runs behind with nine second-innings wickets in hand, the war is far from over for the Kiwis.The visitors lasted just 61.3 overs in their first innings and if the trend persists, the Indians don’t really need to worry about the loss of play on the third day.Play started an hour late because of the early morning rain and 74 minutes after lunch, the skies opened up. There was a heavy downpour which forced the umpires to call off play for the day.In all, there were 162 minutes of play, during which time 37.3 overs were bowled and the Kiwis scored 94 runs, losing six wickets.The Kiwis were 41/1 when play was suspended with McCullum and Williamson at the crease. Following on after conceding a huge 279-run lead, the Kiwis looked determined to learn from the mistakes they made in the first innings.Openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum, in particular, put their heads down and tried to keep the Indian attack at bay. For 55 minutes, there was a keen tussle between bat and ball and it looked as if the Kiwis were going to stage a fightback.However, Guptill made the cardinal mistake of padding up to a Pragyan Ojha delivery without offering a shot in the 15th over of the innings. The Indians went up in appeal and umpire Ian Gould had no hesitation in sending Guptill back to the pavilion.Skipper MS Dhoni, trying to capitalize on the Kiwi weakness against spin, had started the bowling operations with Ojha from the far end.Earlier in the day, the Kiwis resumed at their overnight score of 106/5 with the hope of getting the 133 more that they needed to avoid the follow on. But their hopes were shattered by Umesh Yadav, who trapped Kruger van Wyk (0). Then Ojha got rid of Doug Bracewell (17; 25b, 2×4). Thereafter it was off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who made the Kiwis dance to his tune.The Chennai lad took the last three wickets in a span of 15 balls, conceding just one run. He finished with a career-best 6/31.

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