Match report: Ind v NZ – 1st Test, Day 2
Hyderabad, Aug 24: India have taken control of the first Test against New Zealand after reducing the visitors to 106 for five on Day 2 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. After posting a strong first innings score of 438, the Indian spinners combined to push the Kiwis on the back foot with five wickets in the last session of the day’s play.
The match itself began after a 25-minute delay on Day 2 due to the threat of rain. However, once play resumed, the visitors’ bad luck in the field continued. MS Dhoni edged a swinging delivery from Doug Bracewell between Kruger van Wyk and Ross Taylor (at first slip) for four in the 96th over. A few overs later, Brendon McCullum, standing at cover, fumbled an opportunity to run out Cheteshwar Pujara, who had been late to respond to Dhoni’s call for a single. Pujara was on 133 then and the Indian No. 3 hit a few boundaries, including a pull off Bracewell, to go past 150 just before lunch. India ended the truncated first session at 371 for five.
The Kiwis had their best session of the Test following lunch. With Ross Taylor adopting far more aggressive fields on Day 2, off-spinner Jeetan Patel was able to snare Pujara (159) and Dhoni (73) into playing big shots, only for both batsmen to be caught at mid-on and mid-off respectively a few overs apart from each other. Zaheer Khan (0) and Umesh Yadav (4) didn’t contribute much, but with R Ashwin hitting Patel and Trent Boult for a few boundaries, the Indian total reached 438 by the time the last wicket fell. Ashwin made 37 before he was stumped by van Wyk off Patel’s bowling. Patel finished with figures of four for 100 from his 41 overs.
With the Indian innings coming to an end right at the stroke of tea, New Zealand began their first innings immediately at the resumption of the final session. Brendon McCullum seemed to give the innings the perfect start as he smote Zaheer Khan through covers off the very first ball and even followed it up with a couple of boundaries off the left-arm pacer in the seventh over. However, with MS Dhoni opting for spin as early as the eighth over, McCullum paid the price for his aggression when he hit a flighted delivery from Pragyan Ojha straight to Virat Kohli at cover. McCullum made 22.
R Ashwin then added to the Kiwis’ troubles when he had Martin Guptill (2) and Ross Taylor (2) caught at backward short leg in successive overs to reduce the visitors to 35 for three in 12.5 overs. Daniel Flynn (16) brought out the sweep shot to counter the Indian spinners, but was trapped lbw when he completely overplayed a fuller length Ashwin delivery off the first ball of the 19th over. New Zealand were 55 for four at the fall of Flynn’s wicket.
With the wicket turning and bouncing, MS Dhoni even turned to Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina to make further inroads into the visitors’ batting line-up. But some dogged batting from Kane Williamson and James Franklin denied the hosts any further breakthroughs for a while. The New Zealand pair added 44 runs for the fifth wicket, before Williamson (32) slashed at a Pragyan Ojha delivery a few overs prior to close of play, only for the ball to make its way into the hands of Virender Sehwag at first slip.
The Indian fans had even more reason to cheer when Dhoni tossed the ball to Sachin Tendulkar for the final over of the day. James Franklin, however, smashed a half-tracker from Tendulkar over deep midwicket before umpire Steve Davis called stumps. Franklin remained unbeaten on 31. He and wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk (0*), will now look to revive the Kiwi innings on Day 3.
At end of Day 2: India 1st innings 438/10 in 134.3 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 159, MS Dhoni 73, Jeetan Patel 4/100); New Zealand 1st innings 106/5 in 42.0 overs (Kane Williamson 32, James Franklin 31*, R Ashwin 3/30)
At end of Day 1: India 1st innings 307/5 in 87.0 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 119*, Virat Kohli 58, Trent Boult 2/63)