India bundled out New Zealand for 153 in their second innings to register a massive 321-run win on day four of the third and final cricket Test. Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed six wickets in the first innings and followed it by bagging seven more wickets. It was Ashwin’s 21st five wicket haul in Test match cricket.
India declared soon after Pujara struck James Neesham for his ninth four to reach his eighth Test century and pressed earnestly for the victory by sending back opener Tom Latham (6), who was trapped by Umesh Yadav.
Opener Gautam Gambhir also notched up 50, his first half century since 2012 against England at Kolkata, and also raised 75-run stand with Pujara for second wicket.
Captain Virat Kohli, who made a career-best 211 in the first innings, was dismissed for 17 while the other first innings centurion Ajinkya Rahane remained unbeaten on 23 to add to the excellent 188 he made in the first innings.
Jeetan Patel picked up 2 for 56 while Murali Vijay was run out for 19.
It was expected that India would look to get some quick runs for an early declaration but overnight batsmen Vijay and Pujara started batting in a sedate manner.
Vijay looked a bit more attacking than his partner after resuming at 11 in a team total of 18. He survived when his flick off Matt Henry could not be taken by James Neesham at deep mid-wicket as the fielder dropped the ball back into the playing area while he himself crossed the boundary line.
Vijay, however, was run out soon afterwards due to a misunderstanding with partner Pujara, who first responded to the call for a sharp single to short covers but then sent the former back.
India added just 30 runs in the first hour in 14 overs even as Gambhir joined Pujara to resume his interrupted innings. He had left the field on Monday after suffering a shoulder injury when he dived to save himself from a runout.
Gambhir, on 6 when he retired hurt, rotated the strike well by taking sharp singles.
The duo also put away the occasional bad ball for more runs, including boundary hits, among which was a smashing straight hit by Pujara off left-arm paceman Trent Boult to bring up the fifty of the stand as the scoring rate picked up.
The second fifty of the innings was raised in quicker time than the first with the 100 coming in 27 overs.