Boult stars as India struggle against New Zealand

By ScoreLine Desk - March 2, 2020

Christchurch: Sixteen wickets fell on a dramatic second day of the second cricket test between New Zealand and India as the tourists went to stumps Sunday at 90-6, with a lead of 97 runs and five second innings wickets in hand.

The advantage passed from one team to the other throughout a day dominated by fast bowlers before New Zealand made vital inroads into India’s batting lineup in the final session to end the day with a slight advantage.

Neil Wagner bounced out Ajinkya Rahane (9), then Trent Boult bowled Cheteshwar Pujara (17) and nightwatchman Umesh Yadava (1) in the half hour before stumps to add the final twist in an absorbing day, swinging the match again in New Zealand’s favor. Rocked by a barrage of bouncers India slumped from 72-3 to 90-6. Hanuma Vihari was 5 not out and Rishabh Pant 1 at stumps.

The home team had been on top when the day began, 63-0 in its first innings after winning the toss and dismissing India for 242. It ended the day still on top but those positions were separated by several hours of high drama.

First, India’s seamers produced an outstanding performance to bowl out New Zealand for 235, to give the tourists an unexpected lead of seven runs and a chance to level the two-match series after New Zealand won the first test by 10 wickets.

Every run India added to that advantage was likely to be vital on a pitch at Hagley Oval which, after two days, remains a fast bowler’s paradise, seaming, swinging and providing disconcerting bounce. A chase for anything more than 200 likely would be testing in a low-scoring match.

India seemed to be headed for that sort of lead but New Zealand asserted itself in the final session and left the tourists tail exposed. If Vihari and wicketkeepeer Pant can build a partnership on the third day the balance of the match might swing again, especially if the pitch retains its current qualities.

Throughout the day the ball did more than enough to test even the most correct technique. It swung late, it seamed, it bounced off a length and survival became almost a lottery at times. New Zealand opener Tom Latham who made 54 was the only batsman to reach a half-century Sunday.

Kyle Jamieson produced another outstanding allround performance in only his second test, making 49 to add to his 5-45 in India’s first innings to allow New Zealand to get close to the visitor’s first innings total.

“Obviously the game is pretty well advanced now,” Latham said. “The conditions really changed from day one.

“The wicket hardened up a lot more and did a lot more off the surface. The guys managed to scrape to get pretty much close to parity and the way the bowlers came out with the ball in that last sessions was fantastic.”

India set the tone for the day when it took five New Zealand wickets in the first session to send it tumbling from 63-0 overnight to 142-5. That included the vital wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson who was repeatedly beaten outside off stump by Jasprit Bumrah before being caught behind.

The collapse continued in the second session before Jamieson and Wagner shared a half-century partnership which allowed New Zealand to come close to parity.

The highlight of the day might have been the catch taken by Ravi Jadeja to dismiss Wagner from the bowling of Mohammed Shami who took 3-81. Jadeja leaped high in the air at square leg and, with his feet flailing more than a meter above the ground, caught the ball in his outstretched left hand.

India lost both openers cheaply, then captain Virat Kohli (14) when it was 51-3. Cheteshwar Pujara dug in for more than two hours as he tried to bat his team out of trouble, enduring a hail of bouncers. Rahane was also hit twice on the helmet as New Zealand resorted to a short-pitched attack to chip out India’s middle order.

When both of those batsmen fell close to stumps the day was New Zealand’s.

By ScoreLine Desk

Related Articles