HYDERABAD, India, Aug 26: Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned the best test match figures by an Indian bowler against New Zealand to ensure an innings and 115-run victory on the fourth day of the first test.
Ashwin took 6-54 in the second innings to finish with a career-best 12-85 as New Zealand, following on 279 runs behind, was bowled out for 164 on the fourth day at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
New Zealand had scored 159 in its first innings in reply to India´s 438.
Ashwin, whose previous best in tests was 9-128 against the West Indies at New Delhi last year, made the most of the spin friendly conditions taking three wickets each in the second and third sessions of the day as New Zealand lost its last seven wickets for only 26 runs.
India´s bowler Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates a New Zealand wicket during the fourth day of their first cricket test match in Hyderabad, India, Sunday. (AP)
His victims included captain Ross Taylor (7) and left-handers Daniel Flynn (11) and James Franklin (5). He ensured an early end to the match after New Zealand had fought hard through Kane Williamson (52) and Brendon McCullum (42), who batted through the morning session to add 72 runs for the second wicket.
Williamson struck a fifth half-century in 15 tests and was by far the most comfortable batsman against spin bowling. The 22-year-old, who had scored a century on his test debut against India at Ahmedabad two years ago, struck four fours during his 163-ball knock.
McCullum showed uncharacteristic restraint during his 130-ball knock in which he hit three fours. He was unlucky to be given out leg-before wicket to pace bowler Umesh Yadav when replays showed that the batsman had got a nick on to the pads.
Taylor followed a little later for seven as he left a delivery from Ashwin only to see the ball come back sharply to uproot his off stump and the off-spinner struck a fine rhythm in which he ran through the batting lineup.
He was supported well by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who took the important wicket of Williamson, who edged a delivery to Virender Sehwag at first slip. Ojha finished with 3-48 to follow up his first innings effort of 3-44.
But if the New Zealand team slid badly in the second session, there was worse to come in the third.
The last four New Zealand wickets fell in quick succession and the innings folded up just 24 minutes after tea as Ashwin came back to take three of the last four wickets to fall.
The second game of the series will be in Bangalore starting on Aug. 31 and will be followed by two Twenty20 games in the southern cities of Visakhapatnam on Sept. 8 and Chennai on Sept. 11.