Team India yet again put up a dominant display on Day 3 of the ongoing second Test against New Zealand at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The hosts resumed the third day with their overnight score of 69/0 and declared the second innings at 276/7, giving the visitors a humungous target of 540 runs. New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel, who picked up all ten wickets in the first innings, again shined with the ball, taking the maximum four scalps.
Opener Mayank Agarwal, who smashed a dazzling hundred in the first innings, continued from where he left and hit a crucial half-century (62). Apart from Mayank, Cheteshwar Pujara (47), Shubman Gill (47), and Axar Patel (41 not out) chipped in with valuable contributions.
In the massive chase of 540 runs, New Zealand ended Day 3 with 140/5 as Indian spinners ripped apart the tourists’ batting order. Senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin demolished the Black Caps top order, picking up three wickets for 27 runs in 17 overs, including seven maidens.
Ashwin drew the first blood in the form of New Zealand captain Tom Latham (6) before removing opener Will Young (20) and middle-order batter Ross Taylor (6) to damage the visitors. With the wicket of Taylor, the Tamil Nadu spinner equalled legendary Richard Hadlee for most wickets (65) in Test matches played between India and New Zealand.
Ashwin also completed his 50 Test wickets in 2021, which made him the first bowler to reach such a landmark. Notably, this was the fourth time the Chennai-lad has managed the feat in a calendar year.
Axar (1/42) dismissed Daryl Mitchell (60) while wicketkeeper Tom Blundell got run out as the home team got an inch closer to accomplish the victory in Mumbai.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Indians taking 50+ Test wickets in most calendar years:
4* – R Ashwin (2015, 2016, 2017, 2021)
3 – Anil Kumble (1999, 2004, 2006)
3 – Harbhajan Singh (2001, 2002, 2008)#INDvNZ
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) December 5, 2021
Stumps on Day 3 of the 2nd Test.#TeamIndia 5 wickets away from victory.
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 5, 2021
Stumps in Mumbai 🏏
— ICC (@ICC) December 5, 2021
Nicholls (36*) & Ravindra (2*) will resume on Day 4 tomorrow, both showing plenty of character to close out Day 3 at Wankhede Stadium.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 5, 2021
— CricketTimes.com (@CricketTimesHQ) December 5, 2021
Stumps, Day 3⃣
Strong display from our spinners. The work continues tomorrow 💪
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) December 5, 2021
— Doordarshan Sports (@ddsportschannel) December 5, 2021
Seven different Indians hit a six in that innings; New Zealand hit a total of seven fours in its first innings.
The difference in the way the two team's batsmen move out of their crease to play the ball looks like two different sports.
— Andrew (@shortflyslip) December 5, 2021