By BV Swagath
Bad light brought an early end to proceedings on Day 2 with India reeling at 130 for 4 in reply to New Zealand’s 503. But for the loss of a little over 20 overs, India could have been hurt by few more wickets by the close of the second day. Rohit Sharma has been holding the fort for India along with Ajinkya Rahane following a top order collapse.
New Zealand had a sensational start with Trent Boult taking the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara in the very first over of the Indian innings. Dhawan was caught in the slips in an attempted flick to a late away swinger for a duck. Pujara, who barely opened his account, was caught in the slips as well, playing a rank bad shot to a widish full ball way outside off.
India was in further trouble when its no.1 batsman Virat Kohli fended off a Southee lifter to the slip cordon. At 10 for 3, it was dismal reading for the tourists before sanity prevailed through a fine partnership between Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma. However, the pair added 41 runs before Vijay was bowled for 26 by a lovely cutter from Neil Wagner which angled in from round the sticks but moved away to strike the top of off.
The Kiwis after reducing India to 51 for 4 were stranded for the remainder of the day’s play as Ajinkya Rahane provided able support to Rohit Sharma. Rahane closed the day on a patient 23* from 56 balls. Rohit Sharma at the other end struck 8 fours and a six to get to a promising 67* from 102 balls. India still have a mountain to climb staring at a huge first innings deficit of 373 runs.
Update of NZ innings on Day 2: Ishant Sharma claimed six wickets as India managed to bowl out New Zealand half an hour into the post lunch session on Day 2. However, the Kiwis piled up a big total of 503 with Skipper Brendon McCullum spanking the Indians with a brutal knock of 224.
Resuming Day 2 at 329 for 4, New Zealand got off to an ideal start from its overnight pair of Brendon McCullum and Corey J Anderson. India’s breakthrough came in the 10th over of the morning when Corey J Anderson was wrongly adjudged lbw to an indipper from Ishant Sharma which was not only high but was also missing leg. Anderson scored 77 from 109 balls with 13 fours and a six while putting on 133 for the 5th wicket.
Ishant Sharma struck in succession when he had BJ Watling for 1 caught in the slip cordon after edging an expansive drive to a widish full ball. Next man in was Tim Southee who scored a cameo of 28 from 21 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes before he was bowled round his legs by a near yorker from Shami.
At lunch, New Zealand were 473 for 7 with McCullum bringing up his second double century of his career. Ironically both the double tons were against India! McCullum assault continued post lunch and with Ish Sodhi, the Kiwi Captain added 56 runs for the 8th wicket. Sodhi got out edging a bouncy and seaming length ball from Ishant to the slips which gave the Indian speedster, his first five-wicket haul in three years!
The Kiwi innings was wrapped up with Virat Kohli taking a sharp catch at slip when Neil Wagner pushed hard at a Jadeja delivery followed up by Brendon McCullum holing out in the deep off Ishant. McCullum was dismissed for 224 which came in just 307 balls with 29 fours and 5 sixes. It was a brilliant catch from Jadeja at long on, leaping up to take it, jump over the ropes while lobbing up the ball and then returning inside the playing area to hold onto it for a second time.
Thanks to the Jadeja catch, Ishant Sharma finished with figures of 6 for 134 in 33.4 overs. New Zealand were bowled out for 503 in 121.4 overs.