IND vs NZ: Kane Williamson does it!

Updated: Feb 23, 2020, 07:26 IST | Gaurav Joshi | Wellington

Skipper Williamson smashes 89 as New Zealand take 51-run lead after bowling out India for 165; pacer Ishant Sharma's 3-31 helps visitors fight back in first Test

NZ skipper Kane Williamson en route his 89 against India on Day Two of the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Saturday. Pic/AFP
NZ skipper Kane Williamson en route his 89 against India on Day Two of the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Saturday morning was as good as it could get here. The sun was shining and the ball was 55 overs old. It was ideal to bat and cash in at the Basin Reserve.

Rishabh Pant, unbeaten on 10 on Friday, started the proceedings by smashing a six off the fourth ball of the second day. At the other end was vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, unbeaten on 38. It was smooth sailing for the first 20 minutes as the ball barely beat their bats.

But just as Rahane and Pant looked comfortable, a terrible mix-up led to the latter being run out for 19. To be fair to Rahane, there was an easy single on offer as he pushed the ball left of the point fieldsman, but Pant was late to respond.

Next ball, Ravichandran Ashwin tried to play one across the line and was cleaned up by Tim Southee for a duck. All the hard work Rahane had put in on the opening day was becoming fruitless as India lost their last five wickets for just 43 runs after being bowled out for 165. It was a below-par score on a pitch that had lost its zing from the opening day.

New Zealand ended the day at 216-5 and will resume Day Three with a lead of 51 runs.

For the first 10 overs, the Indian pacers failed to hit the right length, providing New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Tom Blundell ample of time to play their defensive shots.

Ishant was fortunate to remove Latham (11) caught down the leg side, but if there was a bowler who deserved any luck, it was him. The lanky pacer had only arrived in New Zealand three days before the first Test and admitted to being heavily jetlagged after the day's play. He had slept for only 40 minutes after the first day's play.

In the lead up to the Test series, Ishant had not played a competitive match for five weeks, but that didn't prevent him from finding the right length.

Skipper Virat Kohli used him in short bursts. In his third spell, Ishant zipped one in off the deck to dismiss Blundell for 30. In the period of 17 overs that Ishant didn't bowl, New Zealand had its most productive period with Kane Williamson (89) and Ross Taylor adding 61 runs at 3.6 runs an over.

With New Zealand inching closer to India's first innings total, Ishant was re-introduced and dismissed Taylor for 44 with a ball that jagged back, kissing the inside-edge that looped to leg-gully.

Ashwin removed Henry Nicholls for 17, but at the end of the day, it was Ishant's spell of 15-6-31-3 that kept India afloat.

Brief scores

India 165 all out (A Rahane 46, M Agarwal 34; T Southee 4-49, K Jamieson 4-39) v New Zealand 216-5 (K Williamson 89, R Taylor 44; I Sharma 3-31)

Live on tv

NZ v India: 1st Test, Day 3 on Star Sports 1, SS 1 Hindi, 04:00 onwards

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