India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test: Hosts flounder despite Pujara, Rahane fifties; disciplined Kiwis grab Day 1 honours

Ravindra Jadeja (0) and Wriddhiman Saha (14) were holding fort for the home side when stumps were drawn at the end of the 87th over due to bad light.

PTI| Updated: Sep 30, 2016, 17:45 PM IST
India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test: Hosts flounder despite Pujara, Rahane fifties; disciplined Kiwis grab Day 1 honours

Kolkata: India's vaunted batting line-up failed to recover from the early blows dealt by New Zealand's concerted bowling effort and wobbled to 239 for 7 on the opening day of the second cricket Test here today.

Barring Cheteshwar Pujara (87) and Ajinkya Rahane (77), none of the batsmen came good after skipper Virat Kohli opted to bat on the relaid pitch of the historic Eden Gardens stadium, hosting India's 250th home Test.

Ravindra Jadeja (0) and Wriddhiman Saha (14) were holding fort for the home side when stumps were drawn at the end of the 87th over due to bad light.

The Kiwis, who were dealt a blow this morning when regular skipper and top batsman Kane Williamson was ruled out of match owing to illness, showed tremendous resilience to put up a fine first day show.

Medium-pacer Matt Henry was the Black Caps top wicket-taker with a haul of 3/35 in his miserly 15 overs, while off-spinner Jeetan Patel, brought into the side due to the injury-forced exit of Mark Craig, chipped in with two wickets.

India, who will regain the top spot in ICC rankings if they seal the three-match series in this match, did not make a very good start and lost their top-three batsmen even before the score had touched 50.

Pujara and Rahane's dogged fourth-wicket stand of 141 was the high point for India today. (READAnil Kumble picks 2002 Test triumph in England as defining moment)

For the in-form Pujara, it was his third half-century from as many innings but a lapse in concentration ended his patient innings for 87 that came off 219 deliveries and was studded with 17 hits to the fence.

From being 46/3 in a jittery first session, Pujara and Rahane batted with grit and determination under the blazing afternoon heat and energy-sapping humidity.

The duo's stand spanned three hours and nine minutes but the Kiwis made an impact in the final session snapping four wickets.

Pujara was set up brilliantly by left-arm pacer Neil Wagner, who put a short cover for him, and the Indian holed out to Martin Guptill.

However, it was not a good day at his favourite ground for Rohit Sharma (2), who was dismissed by Patel. The right-hander also looked to have hurt his left shoulder while attempting a single.

For the Kiwis, it was a tale of two comeback men as first 24-year-old Henry (3/35), who had replaced their pace spearhead Tim Southee created quite a flutter by removing both the openers -- Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Murali Vijay (9).

Off the second ball of his first over, Henry bowled Dhawan who tried to cut in an angled delivery only to drag the ball back to his stumps. 

Replacing Lokesh Rahul, Dhawan's stint lasted just 10 balls with scorecard reading 1/1 in the second over. Vijay also perished to a beauty from the youngster playing only his fifth Test.

Continuing a rare lean patch, skipper Kohli (9) was steadying the ship with a set Pujara, but Trent Boult (1/33) dismissed the skipper.

Kohli got carried away after an exquisite cover drive that was cheered by the small turnout and went for an IPL-like shot chasing a ball way outside the off-stump to be caught brilliantly by Tom Latham.

The dismissal less than half an before the lunch break disturbed India's recovery plan before Pujara and Rahane held firm in the second session.

Pujara, who played a crucial role with his 62 and 78 in the Kanpur Test, again showed the kind of application needed with his team off a bad start.

After aiding seam movement and offering variable bounce in the morning, the pitch turned slower on a sultry afternoon, offering occasional turn. However Pujara and Rahane batted sensibly to resurrect the innings.

They were never in a hurry and played according to the merit of the ball, collecting timely boundaries in the process.

Giving him a able support at the other end was Rahane, who hit 11 fours in his 157-ball stay at the crease. Rahane's resolute knock came to and end when Patel trapped him LBW with India exactly at 200.

Down the order, Ravichandran Ashwin played a useful knock of 26 that was laced with four hits to the boundary.