India rode on a fine 6 wicket haul from Ravichandran Ashwin in the 4th Innings, to win the 1st Test by a comprehensive margin of 197 runs. The Kiwis mounted a spirited fightback in the first hour of play on Day 5, but could not sustain the continued spin-assault for long. Barring Mitchell Santner’s vigilant 71 and Luke Ronchi’s aggressive 80, New Zealand’s 2nd Innings had little to offer.
Ravichandran Ashwin runs through New Zealand after Santner-Ronchi stand
A 102-run stand for the 5th wicket between Ronchi and Santner had aroused a faint glimmer of hope in Kiwi camp early on Day 5. While Ronchi attempted to attack the spinners, especially Ashwin, Santner stood firm at the other end. At one point, Ronchi was reading Ashwin well enough to score at run-a-ball rate against him. However, this fightback was short-lived, as Ravindra Jadeja soon foxed Ronchi with a flatter delivery that got his leading edge and ended his superb innings. Thereafter it was only a matter of time before the formalities were completed. Mohammed Shami made India’s task easier with two wickets in a single over. Santner persisted with his defiance but ultimately became the 8th Kiwi wicket to go down.
India have thus won their historic 500th Test match in a convincing fashion. Going into the 2nd Test, scheduled to begin on September 30 at Kolkata’s iconic Eden Gardens Stadium, New Zealand would need to consider bolstering their spin bowling options and batting strategies to counter the Ashwin-Jadeja combo. Otherwise, it might turn out to be all too easy for the hosts once again.