Same old story

Another top-order collapse have India reeling at 130 for four after Kiwis pile up mammoth total to take control of first Test

Auckland: India were pushed to the back foot after yet another top-order batting collapse as hosts New Zealand took firm control of the first Test riding on skipper Brendon McCullum’s brilliant double century on Friday.

Same old story

McCullum’s sparkling 224 guided New Zealand to a commanding 503 in their first innings despite a six-wicket haul by pacer Ishant Sharma.India were struggling at 130 for four, when bad light halted second day’s play with Rohit Sharma standing tall amidst ruins batting on 67 in company of Ajinkya Rahane (23 not out). India are 373 runs behind New Zealand’s first innings total and still require another 174 runs to avoid follow-on.

India’s top-order again performed miserably as they were reduced to 10 for three at one stage with Shikhar Dhawan (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Virat Kohli (4) back in the pavilion due to some inspired seam bowling by Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

Murali Vijay (26) did all the hardwork before Neil Wagner dismissed him with a beauty to reduce India to 51 for four.Rohit-Rahane did some repair work with an unbroken 79-run stand for the fifth wicket.Rohit especially looked in silken touch as he hit eight fours and a six off Kane Williamson in the 102 balls that he faced so far.

Coming in at 10 for three, Rohit was initially a bit shaky as he scored only one off 24 deliveries before getting the first boundary off the 25th one. He had a partnership of 41 runs with Vijay, who saw left-arm seamer Neil Wagner fire one in from wide off the crease and the delivery straightened after pitching to beat the batsman clipping the bails in the process. Once Vijay was gone, Rohit decided to counter-attack as he hit three boundaries off a Wagner over. A pull, a punch through covers followed by a deliberate glide over slips.

In another Wagner over, Rohit hit a perfect cover drive while he pushed Southee for a boundary through mid-off effortlessly. Out of his eight boundaries, six were hit off Wagner. Dhawan’s poor overseas technique was exposed once again as he was squared up off the very second delivery of the Indian innings by left-armer Boult as he closed his bat face and the leading edge was taken by Kane Williamson at gully.

Pujara played far away from his body to a delivery that was shaping away while Kohli got a faint tickle on the glove to a rising deliery that also bounced off his helmet towards Peter Fulton at second slip. India were tottering at 10 for three in 5.4 overs when Rohit and Vijay jouined forces. For the next hour, they played without taking much risk.

Earlier, skipper McCullum’s sparkling double century helped New Zealand reach a commanding first innings score of 503 despite a six-wicket haul by speedster Ishant Sharma.McCullum played a captain’s knock scoring 224 off 307 balls with the help of 29 boundaries and five huge sixes as New Zealand were finally all-out in 121.4 overs. Ishant on the other hand got his fourth five-for in Test cricket ending with figures of six for 134 in 33.4 overs.

The New Zealand captain was the last man out when Ravindra Jadeja did brilliant balancing act to catch at the ropes. This was McCullum’s second double century in Tests and also became the fourth Black Caps player to achieve the feat of scoring two or more double hundred in Tests. He joined Stephen Fleming, Glenn Turner and Matthew Sinclair in the list.

New Zealand 1st inngs
P Fulton lbw b Khan………………………………….13
H Rutherford c Rahane b Ishant……………………6
K Williamson c Dhoni b Khan……………………113
R Taylor c Jadeja b Ishant…………………………….3
B McCullum c Jadeja b Ishant……………………224
C Anderson lbw b Ishant……………………………77
B Watling c Dhawan b Ishant……………………….1
T Southee b Shami……………………………………28
I Sodhi c Rohit b Ishant……………………………..23
N Wagner c Kohli b Jadeja……………………………0
T Boult not out…………………………………………..1
Extras: (b1, lb5, w5, nb3)…………………………14
Total: (All-out)………………………………………503
FOW: 1-19, 2-23, 3-30, 4-251, 5-384, 6-398, 7-434, 8-490, 9-495.
Bowling: Shami 28-6-95-1, Zaheer 30-2-132-2, Ishant 33.4-4-134-6, Jadeja 26-1-120-1, Kohli 1-0-4-0, Rohit 3-0-12-0.

India 1st inngs
S Dhawan c Williamson b Boult……………………0
M Vijay b Wagner……………………………………..26
C Pujara c Watling b Boult……………………………1
V Kohli c Fulton b Southee…………………………..4
Rohit not out……………………………………………67
A Rahane not out……………………………………..23
Extras: (b5, lb1, nb3)…………………………………9
Total: (For 4 wkts)………………………………….130
FOW: 1-1, 2-3, 3-10, 4-51.
Bowling: Boult 10-1-20-2, Southee 12-3-27-1, Anderson 2-0-9-0, Wagner 7-0-46-1, Sodhi 6-0-13-0, Williamson 2-0-9-0.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in