Rachin Ravindra played out 91 deliveries to help New Zealand eke out a dramatic draw in the first test against India just as the home team’s spinners looked like forcing the win on Monday.
Set 284 to win, New Zealand was 165-9 when umpire Nitin Menon called off play having checked light readings in each of the previous six overs.
Ravindra was unbeaten on 18 runs, while tailender Ajaz Patel faced 23 balls to score 2 not out. The last-wicket partnership faced 52 deliveries to deny India victory late on the fifth day.
Ravichandran Ashwin took 3-35 and fellow spinner Ravindra Jadeja had 4-40 as New Zealand lost six wickets for 66 runs either side of the tea break. Axar Patel also took 1-23.
“Ravindra showed great composure (and) Ajaz Patel with his defense,” said Ashwin, who moved to 419 wickets — past Harbhajan Singh’s 417 — and became the third on India’s all-time list after Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434).
“Everybody hangs in there, everybody can defend well these days.”
After lunch, which New Zealand reached at 79-1, the downfall began as Umesh Yadav (1-34) got the elusive breakthrough when nightwatchman William Somerville was caught first ball after resumption for 36 off 110 deliveries.
Somerville put on 76 with Tom Latham for the second wicket, with the pair batting through the first session.
Latham was the top-scorer with 52 off 146 balls for his 22nd test half-century. He also scored 95 in the first innings.
The meltdown began after New Zealand crossed 100 in the 47th over.
Latham played onto his own stumps off Ashwin, sparking a collapse from 118-3 to 128-6 in the span of 15.1 overs.
Jadeja accounted for Ross Taylor (2), while Kane Williamson (24) was trapped lbw as New Zealand went to tea at 125-4.
Axar Patel had Henry Nicholls (1) dismissed lbw and New Zealand’s middle order put up little resistance as Ashwin bowled Tom Blundell (2).
Kyle Jamieson (5) and Tim Southee (4) helped Ravindra eat up 11 overs before falling to Jadeja and there were just 10.4 overs remaining in the day.
The umpires checked fading light repeatedly but play carried on until the dramatic call-off with approximately two overs remaining.
Both sides earned four points for a draw in the World Test Championship. The second and final test begins in Mumbai on Friday.