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Wellington Test: Ishant Sharma grabs 11th five-wicket haul, equals Zaheer khan

Ishant Sharma finished with 5 wickets for 68 runs to lead India’s bowling charge in the ongoing first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Ishant Sharma was the last player to join the Indian squad in New Zealand and was straightaway drafted in the playing XI despite being jet-lagged and sleep-deprived but the fast bowler showed no signs of any discomfort on the field once he had the ball in his hands and ended up with a five-wicket haul in the ongoing first Test against New Zealand in Wellington on Sunday.

Ishant, who reached New Zealand just 4 days before the Wellington Test, picked up his 11th five-wicket haul in the format to grab joint-5th position on the list of Indian bowlers with most five-fors in the format with Zaheer Khan. The 31-year-old Delhi pacer is now just 3 wickets shy of entering the 300-club for India in Test cricket.

Ishant’s five-wicket haul is also his third in New Zealand and 9th overall outside India. He picked up the wickets of Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor, Tim Southee and Trent Boult in New Zealand’s first innings. This is Ishant’s second five-wicket haul at the Basin Reserve after his 6-wicket haul against the Kiwis in 2014.

Despite Ishant’s performance, the Black Caps managed to put on 348 runs on the board in reply to India’s 165 first innings score to take a commanding 183-run lead.

New Zealand resumed the third day’s play at 216 for 5 and managed to add 132 runs to their overnight total thanks to outstanding contributions from Kyle Jamieson, Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult.

The towering Jamieson hit 44 off 45 balls (1×4, 4×6) as all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme (43 off 74b; 5×4) also chipped in to help the hosts stretch their lead. The pair shared a 71-run stand for the eighth wicket.

Resuming on 216/5, 51 runs ahead of India’a paltry first innings score of 165, India drew early blood with Jasprit Bumrah getting Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling (14) caught behind in the very first delivery of the day. It was Bumrah’s first wicket in some 48 international overs.

Tim Southee (6) did not last long, Ishant having him caught by Mohammed Shami before Jamieson and Grandhomme joined hands to punish India. Jamieson, who had taken four wickets in the first essay, smacked the ball all around the park before holing out to Hanuma Vihari at long off Ravichandran Ashwin (3/99).

It was Trent Boult who further frustrated the tourists with his 24-ball 38 run cameo which helped New Zealand take the lead to 183 before he was caught behind helping Ishant grab his fifth wicket. The Kiwis added 132 runs for the last three wickets.

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