India will be happy with their performance on day three of the opening Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. They ended with a lead of 63 runs with Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara taking India’s score to 14-1 at stumps. Earlier in the day, Axar Patel bagged a five-wicket haul as New Zealand were bowled out for 296 in their first innings. Ravichandran Ashwin contributed with three wickets. Let us take a look at all the big talking points from the day’s play.
A 151-run opening stand by New Zealand
New Zealand ended day two at 129 for the loss of no wicket. While Tom Latham remained not out on 50, his opening partner Will Young was unbeaten on 75. They added another 22 runs on day three, before Young was dismissed in the 66th over by Ravichandran Ashwin. Enroute their big partnership, the duo added a few records to their name. This is now the first visiting opening combination in five years to stitch a century partnership against India in India. In all, 40 visiting opening pairs have scored a century partnership against India in India in the longest format. The last time this happened was when Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings scored a 103-run stand in Chennai in 2016.
Young scored his second Test fifty and first against India before being dismissed on 85, while Latham missed a century by just five runs.
Incredible start to Axar Patel’s Test career
On day three, the left-arm spinner grabbed his fifth five-wicket haul in his fourth Test and seventh innings. Patel made most of the spin-friendly conditions on offer in Kanpur, and finished with figures of 5 for 62. With this feat, he is now second on the list of most five-wicket hauls in the first four Tests. Heading the list is Australia’s Charlie Turner with six five-wicket hauls, followed by England’s Tom Richardson, Australia’s Rodney Hogg and Axar Patel, all of whom have picked five five-wicket hauls each. Sharing the third spot on the list are Australia’s Fred Spofforthm, England’s Sydney Barnes and Nick Cook and South Africa’s Vernon Philander, all of whom took four fifers each.
Among other records, Axar is now third on the list of most consecutive 4-plus wicket hauls in Test cricket. On top of the list are Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and Pakistan’s Waqar Younis, both of whom registered nine each.
Axar took seven wickets in Chennai in his first Test, 11 wickets in Ahmedabad in his second Test, nine wickets in Ahmedabad in his third Test. And another five wickets in his fourth Test in Kanpur. Axar now has 32 wickets in just three and a half Tests.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s support
Patel was well supported by Ashwin, who picked up three wickets. When the Kiwi openers walked out to bat on day three after scoring an unbeaten 129-run partnership on day one, pressure was mounting on India. But after resuming their innings, the duo could add only 22 more runs together as Ashwin provided India with a big breakthrough. He removed Young on 89 before sending back Kylie Jamieson and William Somerville in the final session to register a three-wicket haul in the first innings. Ashwin is now the highest wicket-taker in Tests in 2021, surpassing Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi. He also went past Wasim Akram’s career tally of 414 wickets on the list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket. With 416 wickets, Ashwin is now 14th on the list. The list is headed by Sri Lanka’s Muthiah Muralitharan, who has 800 wickets.
A heated argument between Ashwin and the umpire
Ashwin got involved in a heated argument with the umpire after he delivered the ball from closer to the wickets and also obstructed the umpire Nitin Menon’s view. Menon took an objection to that and asked Ashwin to not get in the way of his view. This led to a heated argument between the two, which forced captain Ajinkya Rahane to intervene. However, Ashwin didn’t seem to pay heed to the umpire’s objection, and kept running across him during the follow-through. Cameras also captured head coach Rahul Dravid having a chat with match referee Javagal Srinath.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra took to social media to give his view on this, saying that Ashwin’s style of bowling could have affected Menon’s on-field decisions.
KS Bharat’s impressive glovework
The Andhra Pradesh wicketkeeper batter, who also played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2021, came in as a substitute for Wriddhiman Saha, who did not take to the field due to neck strain. On a surface where keeping wickets was difficult, Bharat pulled off three brilliant dismissals, which included a stumping to remove Latham on 95. Despite impressing, Bharat might not get to keep wickets again until either Saha or Rishabh Pant are unavailable.
Kylie Jamieson becomes the fastest Kiwi to 50 Test wickets
Kylie Jamieson Kyle Jamieson became the quickest New Zealand bowler to reach 50 Test wickets on day three of the Kanpur Test. In only his 9th Test, he went past former New Zealand pacer Shane Bond, who took 12 Tests to pick 50 Test wickets. Overall, he is the 13th bowler to get to the landmark in nine Tests. Australia’s Charles Turner holds the record for being the fastest to 50 Test wickets. He took six Tests to achieve the feat. Interestingly, 20 of his 50 wickets have come against India in the four Tests he has played.