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Prajakta Pawar in Mumbai 06 February 2014 - 12:01pm IST

Report: New Zealand vs India - 1st Test, Day 1

Centurions Williamson, McCullum put Black Caps on top

Kane Williamson (113) and Brendon McCullum (143*) powered New Zealand to 329 for four at stumps on Day 1 of the first Test in Auckland. Left struggling on 30 for three after being inserted to bat, Williamson and the Kiwi captain turned the tables on India with a 221-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

At the end of day’s play at Eden Park, Corey Anderson (42*) was giving company to his skipper.

The Indian pacers used the overcast conditions well as Dhoni’s luck with the toss continued. After rain delayed the start, the hosts managed 54 for three in the morning session.

Mohammed Shami conceded a solitary run in the first over while Zaheer Khan, who is back to lead the attack, almost got the better of Peter Fulton off his first delivery. However, Shikhar Dhawan diving to second slip for what was Rohit Sharma’s catch in the position spilled it. And Fulton got off the mark with a four through midwicket on the next delivery.

But the opening pair managed to add only 19 runs until Ishant Sharma sent back Hamish Rutherford. An excellent catch by Ajinkya Rahane to his right in the gully gave India their first breakthrough.

Zaheer returned to claim Fulton off the first ball of his second spell. The batsman was trapped plumb in front of the wicket for 13. Seven runs later Ishant accounted for the prized wicket of Ross Taylor. The middle-order batsman was caught at mid-off by Ravindra Jadeja while looking to drive the ball.

Play resumed under clear skies post-lunch with Virat Kohli rolling his arm over for India to allow Ishant to change ends for the session. After edging and pushing the ball around initially, the batsmen settled in and milked the Indian bowling. Williamson who had been let off by Murali Vijay at first slip off Shami earlier in the session when on 32, led the charge while his captain matched him stroke for stroke. They wrested the advantage away from India and kept the scoreboard ticking.

Williamson, who has been the mainstay of the NZ line-up in recent times reached his half-century with a six off Zaheer over fine-leg and continued to accumulate runs. Four overs later, McCullum brought up his fifty by driving a Zaheer half-volley to the boundary and followed it up with a late-cut for four more.

Unable to stem the flow of runs and make any dents in the New Zealand line-up, India conceded the advantage that they had gained in the first session to the hosts. Williamson and McCullum collected 125 runs and pulled the match in NZ’s favour. The pair had taken the team to 179 for three at tea.

McCullum was on song as he slayed the Indian bowling en route to his eighth Test hundred, taking merely 135 balls to get there. The New Zealand captain sent Ravindra Jadeja sailing over long off to bring up the three-figure mark with a six.

Williamson wasn’t far behind the experienced campaigner and drove Jadeja through off to add a couple of runs and take his tally to 100.

It was a one-way battle as the duo scored runs with ease. It was late into the third session that India got a breakthrough. Williamson departed when he edged a Zaheer delivery to the wicketkeeper with the Black Caps on 251 and was replaced by Anderson in the middle.

With NZ on 288 for four, Shami and Ishant were reintroduced into the attack with the new ball. And McCullum increased the tempo of the innings. Runs came freely as he took the team past 300 with Anderson.

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