New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor led from the front with a blazing century to give his side an unexpected advantage after the opening day of the second Test against India here yesterday.
A day after Taylor implored his side to take the attack to India’s spinners following their innings and 115-run defeat in the first Test, he produced one of the innings of his career. Taylor reached his seventh Test ton from 99 balls before he eventually became spinner Pragyan Ojha’s fourth victim of the day, but not before he had reached 113 from 127 balls.
The 28-year-old’s belligerence, plus half-centuries from Martin Guptill and Kruger van Wyk, meant New Zealand were 328 for six when bad light ended play early. India’s spinners had still accounted for five of the Kiwi batsmen to fall - after claiming 18 of the 20 wickets in Hyderabad - but Taylor’s strong-arm tactics blunted their effectiveness. During the afternoon session Taylor and Daniel Flynn, who combined in a 107-run stand for the fourth wicket, kept the scoreboard ticking at seven runs an over.
It was a fine counterattacking partnership after New Zealand had been in some trouble at 89 for three. Zaheer Khan trapped Brendan McCullum lbw before he had scored in the second over before Ojha, who opened the bowling, claimed his first two scalps.
Kane Williamson was adjudged lbw pressing forward before Guptill, who had also sought to attack in his 53, paid for his aggression when he picked out Gautam Gambhir at mid-wicket. With his side in some trouble, Taylor took flight after lunch slapping Ojha for four boundaries in his second over after the break.
Flynn had played more stoically in their stand before he was out sweeping at Ravichandran Ashwin for 33 midway through the middle session. James Franklin was the only other man to fall before tea, slapping an Ojha full-toss to Suresh Raina, but again Taylor took charge with wicketkeeper Van Wyk matching his aggression.
Taylor survived a scare when he had to dive to make his ground after a mix-up with Van Wyk before cutting Ojha for four to bring up his 99-ball century. Ojha got a measure of revenge after tea, though, when he finally trapped Taylor lbw attempting to sweep but Van Wyk, who had hit nine fours in his unbeaten 63, and Doug Bracewell (30 not out) ensured their skipper’s good work was not wasted in an unbroken 82-run stand before the light faded.