Ajaz Patel must have been elated after bringing India’s first innings total down to a manageable level, but before the happy congratulations on social media could stop pouring in, his players flattered to deceive by batting out only 28.1 overs. The team finished with the lowest total by an international team on Indian soil. The Black Caps batted for 14.4 overs less than their primary spinner needed to dismiss all of the Indians. They didn’t even have time to process the achievement when Mohammed Siraj (3/19) ‘hostile four-over spell devastated them. Two of the pitches straightened and had enough speed to get past the batter’s defence, while the other was a vicious bouncer.

On this track, Ravichandran Ashwin (4/8 in 8 overs) and Axar Patel (2/14 in 9.1 overs) were expectedly excellent. The opposing batters were unable to counteract the turn and bounce. The New Zealand innings ended before the Indian bowlers had had a chance to warm up, and Kohli was understandably eager for some batting practice against a damaged opposition to give him and Puara the confidence they needed.

With the game all but won, Pujara stroked freely and also got a pulled six off Patel, which is unusual for a defensive batsman. While Pujara will undoubtedly appreciate these valuable runs, it must be overlooked that they came at a time when the pressure had already been lifted thanks to a massive 263-run first-inning advantage. Patel took two quick wickets to start the day, but Agarwal and Axar scored 67 runs for the seventh wicket to push the score above 300. Axar hit his first 50 and batted with caution and ferocity at times.

The delivery that got Ravichandran Ashwin out was the greatest of his six wickets on the day, as he pulled the batter forward and spun enough to clip the bails. Ashwin made a humorous DRS plea without recognizing he had been bowled, mistakenly believing the bowler had appealed for caught behind. He had already requested the review, and once he saw he had been beaten lock, stock, and barrel, he didn’t wait for the final judgement. It’s no surprise that Ashwin gave Patel a standing ovation from the Indian dressing room after he got Siraj as his 10th and last victim.

But little could Patel have predicted that Siraj’s opening burst, which was on par with what one may see in home Test matches on surfaces that aren’t favourable to fast bowling, would turn into an anti-climax. This one, on the other hand, had a little more bounce to it. Perhaps the greatest delivery of the contest was the one that got Ross Taylor out. Taylor formed to play a defensive shot when the ball came in, but there was enough deviation to beat the outside edge of his bat and knock back the off-stump. After the one-of-a-kind dismissal, there was no way back for the New Zealanders, who would now only try to postpone the inevitable.