Debutant Shreyas Iyer showed some aggression and scored an unbeaten knock of 75 as India finished on 258 runs with the loss of 4 wickets on the first day of the opening Test against New Zealand.
On a track that had unpredictable bounce and didn’t offer enough seam off it, Shreyas Iyer played a brilliant innings.
Facing 136 deliveries, he smashed seven boundaries and two beautiful sixes in his debut match of the longest format in international cricket.
India 84 overs 258-4
S. Iyer 75 (136) Jamieson 3-47 Gill 52 (93) Southee 1-43 Jadeja 50* (100)
Iyer came at the crease when his side was struggling a bit at 106 for 3 after the dismissal of the experienced Pujara (26 off 88 balls).
In another half an hour, his skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s (33 off 65 balls) encouraging innings come to an end.
Kyle Jamieson (15.2-6-47-3) and Tim Southee (16.4-3-43-1) made full use of the conditions and destroyed the middle-order of team India in exciting post-lunch spells.
But at 145 for 4, Shreyas Iyer took charge against the bowlers.
With Ravindra Jadeja (50 not out, 100 balls) for the company, he re-established the innings, at the same time playing with a lot of intent to keep the scoreboard moving.
Jadeja scored his 17th Test fifty and did his trademark sword celebrations much to the delight of the crowd
Gill smashes a fifty
If Iyer’s maiden innings was the shining point, then comeback man Gill’s taking the charge back to the opposition bowlers in the morning session was another highlight.
Gill looked in supreme touch.
if Jamieson had not delivered a beauty with the old ball, he might have easily completed a well-deserving maiden Test hundred.
However, sadly for Gill, Jamieson found the gap between the bat and pad to bowl him out.
Surely, the innings of Gill and Iyer today were another warning signal for the senior players like Pujara and Rahane, who are now not playing in the way they are known for.
When Virat, Rohit, and Rahul will come back into the side then it will be difficult for them to stay in the side without performing.
Rahane and Pujara failed again
Rahane was done and dusted by a low bouncer when he was expecting the ball from a near 7 feet tall Jamieson to bounce up.
With almost 12 Tests without playing a big inning, Rahane’s record is not looking too good for a stand-in skipper.
Similarly, the senior batter Pujara is struggling against spin bowling.
Ironically, the younger batters like Gill and Iyer had no problem facing the spinners.
So, Pujara needs to find his form as soon as possible to not lose his spot from the side.
Pujara is no doubt a match-winner but his current form is not justifying his class.
The 113 runs stand between Iyer and Jadeja has changed the momentum of this game.
Now team India is looking good to put a big score on the board in the 1st innings.
They smashed the bad bowls to score quick runs but they also gave respect to the good balls as well.
Iyer has transformed well from a hard-hitting white ball batter to a reliable red bowl batter.
Jadeja on the other hand is in red hot form with the bat at home and this was his 4th half-century in the last 5 innings in test cricket.
India will continue their batting on day 2 from 258-4 and they will look to score 400 plus runs on the board.
Jamieson shine with the ball
Kyle Jamieson was the star for New Zealand with the ball.
He picked up 3 wickets for just 47 runs from his 15. 2 overs.
Jamieson picked up the important wickets of Agarwal, Gill, and the skipper Rahane.
He bowled at express pace and displayed good line and length to frustrate the batters.