India vs New Zealand 2nd Test, Day 1: Taylor slams quickfire ton to help Kiwis post 328/6
Bangalore: Ross Taylor struck a brisk century as New Zealand recovered from an early setback to end the first day of the second Test on 328/6 at Bangalore on Friday before the play was stopped due to bad light.
At stumps, Kruger van Wayk (63*) and Doug Bracewell (30*) were still on crease.
For New Zealand the first day began on a positive note as their captain won the toss and chose to bat first under the grey skies of Bangalore on Friday hoping to see off the initial movement of the ball and then set- up a platform for a big total.
Their first innings began on the wrong foot as their opening batsman Brendon McCullum was scalped early on by left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan in his very first over of the day. A good length delivery that came in found McCullum’s pad in its path to the stumps and umpire raised his fingers giving the hosts the beginning they would have wanted. New Zealand had lost their first wicket for a duck.
What followed next was a refreshing change from the visitors’ earlier shows as the pair of Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson steadied the ship taking the score to 63 before the latter fell to Ojha lbw for the third time in the series. Guptill, was handed a life after Virat Kohli’s dive in front of Suresh Raina saw the former dropping a catch at third slip that otherwise was heading straight to the second slip. He took full advantage of this slipup and added 37 more to his total before being caught by Gambhir at midwicket. Guptill was finally dismissed for 53.
His departure brought captain Ross to the crease. Taylor launched a counterattack that seemed to take the host by surprise and eventually took them out of their comfort zone. The partnership lasted for 107 runs during which the score rate remained above 4/over. Taylor played the role of the aggressor while Flynn joined the party late.
‘Rossatron’ to the fore
Ross Taylor’s last Test century against a top cricketing nation came way back in March 2010 when he cracked 138 against Australia in the first innings at Hamilton. Though, he did score a ton this year but it came against a lowly Zimbabwean side.
The responsibility to shepherd a New Zealand side that has lost four of its last five Tests must have been a crown of thorns for Taylor. That the team submitted to the hosts India meekly at Hyderabad without offering any hint of fight brought more humiliation. From all around, experts were preaching how to tackle the Indian spinners. Taylor chose the best form of defence. Attack from the word go.
Ross Taylor struck his seventh Test century, his third against India, at a pace that would have left you wondering whether it was a limited over game. That there was a possibility of breaking the fastest Test ton registered in India (74balls) is enough to speak of speed with which the skipper collected runs. He struck 16 boundaries and two sixes in his knock of 113 runs. The century should keep his critics quiet for sometime.
After losing three wickets in the first session, the Black Caps came back strongly in the second scoring 132 in 30 overs losing the wickets of Flynn(33) and James Franklin(8).
Taylor became Ojha’s fourth victim just after tea, plumb in front of the wickets.
Van wyk and Bracewell hang on
It was expected that the Indian spinners will wipe out the tail but wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk took the mantle from his captain and kept the scoring rate above four while registering his maiden Test fifty. Bracewell played a role similar to that of Flynn and kept finding boundaries whenever there was scope to score one.
For India, Pragyan Ojha took 4/90 in 27 overs while Ashwin and Zaheer took one wicket each. The hosts tasted success early in the first session but then inspired Kiwis led by their captain ensured that wickets wouldn’t seem an easy affair for India as it was during the first Test at Hyderabad.