Kanpur, Nov 27 (IANS): The left-arm spin duo of Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja helped India stage a comeback in the second session of day three in the first Test at the Green Park Stadium. At tea, New Zealand are 249/6 in 118 overs and trail India by 96 runs with Tom Blundell (10 not out off 73 balls) and Kyle Jamieson (2 not out off 20 balls) at the crease.
Resuming from 197/2 at lunch, India were superb in pushing New Zealand to the back foot. The bowlers built pressure and did not give any loose deliveries. India were rewarded for their efforts as Patel got Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls in quick succession.
The left-arm spinner got a length delivery to turn and take the outer edge off Ross Taylor's bat on forward defence to substitute keeper KS Bharat.
He then returned in his next over to take out Henry Nicholls, who missed the sweep and was rapped on the back pad. Nicholls reviewed the decision but couldn't reverse it.
Tom Latham, who was as solid as a rock, fell five short of his 12th Test hundred in a sudden rush of blood in the 103rd over. The left-hander came out to defend, but the inner edge rolled to Bharat, who kept his balance to complete the stumping, giving Patel his third wicket of the session.
Debutant Rachin Ravindra looked good while striking Ashwin for boundaries but his promising stay at the crease ended with Ravindra Jadeja bowling him through the gate as New Zealand wobbled from 214/2 to 241/6.
It took some solid defence from Blundell and Jamieson to ensure that the tourists didn't lose another wicket in a session bossed by India.
Earlier, Ravichandran Ashwin and Umesh Yadav made inroads through New Zealand's innings in the first session. Will Young edged an outside off delivery which kept low with the outer edge snapped by Bharat for a superb low catch in the 67th over.
Ashwin almost had his second wicket in the 73rd over had India taken the review. The ace off-spinner got one to turn from leg-stump and rapped Latham's pad in front of off-stump. Later, replays showed three reds, which meant a costly miss for India.
Kane Williamson was nervy against Ashwin but came out in full flow against Jadeja, smashing him for boundaries through cover and point.
After taking the new ball, India were instantly rewarded with Williamson's wicket at the stroke of lunch, as Yadav got a length ball to nip back in and rapped the right-hander on his back pad. Williamson reviewed but replays showed the ball hitting top of middle stump.
Brief Scores: India 345 all out in 111.1 overs (Shreyas Iyer 105, Shubman Gill 52, Ravindra Jadeja 50; Tim Southee 5/69, Kyle Jamieson 3/85) vs New Zealand 249/6 in 118 overs (Tom Latham 95, Will Young 89; Axar Patel 3/46, Umesh Yadav 1/41).