KANPUR: Tom Latham and Will Young defied India to lead New Zealand to 129 without loss in reply to the home side’s 345, leaving the opening Test at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium evenly poised on Friday.
After Tim Southee bowled the Black Caps back into contention with a five-for, Latham and Young produced the first century opening partnership by a visiting team on Indian soil in five years.
At stumps, Latham was 50 not out and Young 75 not out, having survived 41 testing overs of spin by Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. Play ended due to bad light with three overs remaining.
They trail by 216 runs after bowling out India three overs after lunch with Southee claiming 5-69, on a track that had prompted both sides to pack three spinners into their respective teams.
Shreyas Iyer, on 75 overnight, achieved a century on debut and was out for a team-best 105. Iyer became the 16th India batsman to score a hundred on Test debut. He faced 171 balls, hit 13 fours and two sixes.
“I was happy the way everything went on day one. [But] I couldn’t get any sleep last night, Iyer said. “I had to still focus again today. I was up early at 5 a.m., but when you make a century, it is a wonderful feeling. [After presenting his cap], Sunil Gavaskar motivated me and told me to enjoy the moment.”
India had resumed on 258-4 and all eyes were on Iyer as the 26-year-old, only making his debut with several frontline batsmen rested, approached his hundred.
He showed no nerves and hit Kyle Jamieson (3-91) for back-to-back boundaries and then took two off him to bring up his century, the Mumbai batsman kissing his helmet and raising his arms while the sparse crowd in the stadium cheered.
Southee, who had dismissed Ravindra Jadeja for his overnight score of 50, wrecked India’s middle and lower order.
His victims included Iyer, who played a lazy drive that was pouched by Will Young at cover. It was a tame end to an otherwise stellar knock studded with two sixes and 13 boundaries.
Southee, who bowled 11 overs on the trot in the morning session, went on to complete his 13th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
It was a terrific bowling display by the 32-year-old, who missed part of Thursday’s play with a groin strain but returned to torment the Indians after taking pain-killers.
“Having played a bit of cricket, you tend to sort of be able to play through some sort of stiffness and some soreness...,” he said. “It’s nothing new to be able to play through a little bit of pain...I think the best painkiller is wickets.”
Spinner Ajaz Patel removed the last two Indian batsmen as New Zealand conceded 87 runs on Friday to claim the last six wickets.
Thereafter, New Zealand didn’t give a single whiff to the India bowlers.
Latham and Young added 72 runs before tea and completely stumped the India attack with their defiance.
Their 50-run stand came up in 125 balls.
After tea, they continued to grind against the spinners, who were at fault for bowling too flat.
Young hit 12 boundaries in his assured knock, while Latham’s stay was more eventful.
The 29-year-old was given out lbw twice early in his knock but survived as replays confirmed edges before the ball hit his pad on both occasions.
He was adjudged caught behind in the final overs too but once again Latham successfully reviewed the decision to prolong his stay.
INDIA (1st Innings, overnight 258-4):
M. Agarwal c Blundell b Jamieson 13
S. Gill b Jamieson 52
C. Pujara c Blundell b Southee 26
A. Rahane b Jamieson 35
S. Iyer c Young b Southee 105
R. Jadeja b Southee 50
W. Saha c Blundell b Southee 1
R. Ashwin b Patel 38
A. Patel c Blundell b Southee 3
U. Yadav not out 10
I. Sharma lbw b Patel 0
EXTRAS (B-5, LB-2, NB-4, W-1) 12
TOTAL (all out, 111.1 overs) 345
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-21 (Agarwal), 2-82 (Gill), 3-106 (Pujara), 4-145 (Rahane), 5-266 (Jadeja), 6-288 (Saha), 7-305 (Iyer), 8-313 (Axar Patel), 9-339 (Ashwin).
BOWLING: Southee 27.4-6-69-5, Jamieson 23.2-6-91-3 (1w, 4nb), Patel 29.1-7-90-2, Somerville 24-2-60-0, Ravindra 7-1-28-0.
NEW ZEALAND (1st Innings):
T. Latham not out 50
W. Young not out 75
EXTRAS (LB-1, NB-3) 4
TOTAL (for no wicket, 57 overs) 129
TO BAT: K. Williamson, R. Taylor, H. Nicholls, T. Blundell, R. Ravindra, K. Jamieson,
T. Southee, A. Patel, W. Somerville.
BOWLING (to-date): Sharma 6-3-10-0 (2nb), Yadav 10-3-26-0, Ashwin 17-5-38-0, Jadeja 14-4-28-0 (1nb), Patel 10-1-26-0.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021