Knowing that the Indian team leads 1-0 in the ongoing three-match Test series, New Zealand kick-started the second Test with a collective rhythm. The Kiwis’ bowlers certainly did cause problems to the Indians right from the start which really slowed down the batters.
Shikhar Dhawan, who didn’t play the first Test, got a good chance to open the batting but disappointed the fans at Eden Gardens after getting out for just a run when Matt Henry rattled Dhawan’s stumps. It was just the kind of start Kiwis expected but the Indians didn’t see this coming.
The consistent opener Murali Vijay might have essayed two fours to garner 9 runs but couldn’t convert it to a big score when he had nicked the ball off Matt Henry’s brilliant delivery giving straight to the wicket-keeper BJ Watling in his safe pair of hands.
The skipper Virat Kohli came in to sort out the situation well in favour of India but a poor shot selection had seen him leaving the pitch with frustration as he got out cheaply for 9 runs at the hands of Latham off Trent Boult’s delivery.
Indians were already struggling to make the cut in the opening session and desperately required someone to steady things well. When the top-order batters collapsed the fans mindset, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane provoked the fans by their sensible batting.
The constructive duo put together a 141-run liaison for the fourth wicket that gave India a sensational lift from a dilemma. When things were going sleek in India’s point of view, the resurgent Kiwis once again hit back strongly to remove Pujara for a well-played 87 runs inclusive of 17 fours.
Rohit Sharma, who played well in the second innings of the opening encounter, failed to get the better of him this time as he tumbled for 2 runs. Rahane at the other end tried his best to take India to a good score but he was trapped for an lbw off Jeetan Patel for a composed 77 runs comprising 11 fours.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who helped India win the first Test, came in out with a positive intent to deliver the amends with the bat as he is well known for his all-rounding skills. Ashwin got going well and essayed four sleek boundaries but a clear-cut ball from Matt Henry saw Ashwin leaving the pitch for an lbw.
With three wickets in hand and Wriddhiman Saha batting on 14 runs and Jadeja yet to get off the mark, India deludes their first day on a low scoring note of 239/7.
Day 1 Stumps
India vs New Zealand second Test (Eden Gardens, Kolkata)
India- 239/7 (86 overs)
Chesteshwar Pujara – 87 (219), Ajinkya Rahane – 77 (157) ; Matt Henry – 3/35, Jeetan Patel – 2/66