Senior pros Kane Williamson (89) and Ross Taylor (44) piled on 93 runs for the fourth wicket to give New Zealand a massive advantage on Day 2 of the first Test against India at Wellington. With it, they also went past India’s first innings score of 165 and finished the day with a 51-run lead. Earlier in the day, Tim Southee had inspired the hosts to a good start, as the Indians lost quick wickets to fold out for a below-par score.
After a poor batting display on Day 1, Day 2 too began on a poor note as Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant were involved in a miscommunication, leading to the keeper’s dismissal. Southee bowled an exceptional spell thereafter as India lost four wickets in the first hour. He along with pacer Kyle Jamieson finished with four wickets apiece.
In the Kiwi innings, Ishant Sharma caused problems upfront as he dismissed Tom Latham early. This brought Williamson to the crease, and he was welcomed with a ball that bounced more than he had wanted. He, however, soon gained composure and took control of the innings, taking advantage of India’s ploy of bowling short. A full-length delivery from Ishant that swung late dislodged Blundell’s stumps, but that got Ross Taylor to the wicket. Playing his 100th Test, Taylor started off with intent by slog sweeping Ashwin for a huge six.
The duo were unbroken by the tea break, but in the last session, it was Ishant once again who broke the stand, Foxing Taylor with a steep bounce, the batter committed to playing on the front foot, only to be taken aback by the height of the ball.
Henry Nicholls took time to settle in, and just when it seemed like Williamson would get his hundred, a lapse in concentration meant that he was out for 89. Nicholls was then joined by BJ Watling, but the visitors got another relief as the former was sent back by Ashwin as well to crawl back into the game.
However, they will need to ensure that the lower order is picked out early and that their batters can pitch in with a better showing than what they produced on Day 1.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 216/5 (Kane Williamson 89, Ross Taylor 44; Ishant Sharma 3-31) lead India 165 (Ajinkya Rahane 46; Kyle Jamieson 4-39, Tim Southee 4-49) by 51 runs