Match report: Ind v NZ – 2nd Test, Day 1
Bengaluru, Aug 31: Ross Taylor scored a blustery century to power New Zealand to 328 for six on the opening day of the second Test against India. Taylor’s ton, his first in India, easily gave the visitors their best day of cricket on this tour even though bad light brought an early halt to the day’s proceedings.
It was Taylor’s day from the very beginning; the NZ skipper winning the toss and opting to make first use of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium track. The visitors made one change to their playing XI from the side that played in Hyderabad with Tim Southee replacing Chris Martin in the pace department. The hosts, meanwhile, opted for an unchanged squad.
The match itself began with an interesting twist as Pragyan Ojha became the first spinner to open the bowling for India in Tests. After the tryst with the record books, India had much to cheer about as Zaheer Khan trapped Brendon McCullum (0) lbw in the second over, even before the Kiwis had opened their account.
The visitors, however, recovered. After Martin Guptill was put down by Virat Kohli at third slip in the 10th over, they reached 45 for one at the first drinks break. Shortly after that, Guptill smacked Umesh Yadav for three boundaries on the leg side in the 18th over. Pragyan Ojha, though, gave India the upper hand at lunch; the left-arm spinner removed Kane Williamson (17) and Guptill (53) as New Zealand finished the first session at 108 for three.
The second session belonged entirely to Taylor. Having slog swept R Ashwin into the stands shortly before lunch, Taylor continued his breathtaking assault, smashing the Indian bowlers to all corners of the M. Chinnaswamy stadium. He upper-cut, drove through cover and regularly slog swept the Indian bowlers to set up a 107-run stand with Daniel Flynn for the fourth wicket. Pragyan Ojha bore the brunt of Taylor’s form; the spinner went for 42 runs from the 55 deliveries he bowled to the NZ captain. Inspired by Taylor’s batting display, Flynn too joined the onslaught as he hit R Ashwin for consecutive boundaries in the 39th over.
Ashwin finally trapped Flynn (33) lbw in the same fashion as he done in the two innings at Hyderabad, with the Kiwi batsman looking to sweep him only to be hit on the thigh pad. James Franklin (8) was the next to go when he hit a full toss from Ojha straight to midwicket to make it 215 for five. Taylor, nevertheless, blazed on, reaching his century off just 99 balls with a boundary off Ojha behind backward point in the 54th over. He went on to celebrate his century, the fastest by a NZ captain in Tests, by lofting Ojha over wide long off for six.
Having scored 132 runs in the second session off just 30 overs, to surge to 240 for five at tea, the Kiwis would have hoped for Taylor to build on his impressive innings. Instead, the Kiwi captain was adjudged lbw to Pragyan Ojha five overs into the second session. Taylor made 113 and the visitors were 246 for six at the loss of his wicket.
Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell then ensured that the Kiwis didn’t fritter away the advantage gained by Taylor’s innings. van Wyk was quick to pounce on anything short; the Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman reached his half-century off just 60 balls. van Wyk (63*) and Bracewell (30*) added 82 for the seventh wicket, before bad light and a light drizzle forced the players to go off the field. NZ were 328 for six when play was finally called off.
At end of Day 1: New Zealand 1st innings 328/6 in 81.3 overs (Ross Taylor 113, Kruger van Wyk 63*, Martin Guptill 53, Pragyan Ojha 4/90)