BLACKCAPS take 1-0 lead to Wellington

BLACKCAPS take 1-0 lead to Wellington

India 366 all out (Shikar Dhawan 155, Virat Kohli 67, MS Dhoni 35, Neil Wagner 4-62, Trent Boult 3-86, Tim Southee 3-81) and 202 all out lost to the BLACKCAPS 105 all out and 502 all out by 40 runs.

The Eden Park crowd spent more time on the edge of their seat than not as India made steady progress toward their huge target, before the BLACKCAPS struck back with the new ball to wrap up a win by 40 runs. 

Scorecard

Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner started the day brightly, the trio able to extract bounce and some sideways movement from the day four pitch in bright sunshine. Shikar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara resumed for India and found scoring difficult as the BLACKCAPS bowlers kept tight lines to attacking fields. 

After one or two close lbw shouts Southee made the breakthrough when Pujara edged him to BJ Watling. That brought Virat Kohli to the wicket, who set about building a formidable partnership with Dhawan. They weathered the initial storm from the attack, then started to get on top. They worked away at the BLACKCAPS lead, going to the break with both Kohli and Dhawan looking well set, and needing 226 for the win. 

Dhawan was brutal on Ish Sodhi immediately after lunch, bringing up 200 for India with a six over cow corner, then his own hundred with a cut through the covers. Wagner replaced him at the southern end and immediately got the big wicket of Kohli, who swiped at a wide one and edged it through to Watling to be on his way for 67. 

It was Wagner who broke through in the 75th over, getting a ball to rise sharply on Dhawan, catching the bat on the way though to Watling to his delight. That brought two new-ish batsmen together with the new ball impending and started a decisive period of the match. 

Boult struck on his first crack with the new ball, trapping Ajinkya Rahane lbw for 19, even though hotspot showed he got bat on it. The players left the field for tea an hour later applauding Wagner for his efforts. 

With the first after tea, Southee removed Rohit Sharma for 19, stabbing at it outside off and edging through to Watling. 

MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja came together with 137 needed to win, and showed no fear in the chase, counter-attacking and striking boundaries, costing local fans a fair few fingernails in the process. 

With 83 needed, Jadeja hit Boult to long on where Sodhi cooly took the catch - Zaheer Khan put together a further partnership with Dhoni to creep closer to their target, but Wagner stepped up again and had Zaheer edging to Ross Taylor at first slip to reduce India to eight wickets down. 

Dhoni started turning down singles but was undone on 35, playing on from Wagner again, his fourth wicket of the innings and eighth of the match. With Ishant and Mohammed Shami at the crease the end was in sight but no-one moved a muscle until Boult had Ishant edging to Watling for his ninth catch, a New Zealand record, and securing the win by 40 runs. 

The BLACKCAPS go to Wellington with a 1-0 lead in the series. This Test started with a dominant innings lead based on the skipper's 224, then twisted and turned like a ropy extension lead on days three and four. The two team's momentum switched session by session then hour by hour - buckle up for more at the Basin.  


Day three: India 87-1 (Shikar Dhawan 49) and 202 (Rohit Sharma 72, Trent Boult 3-38, Tim Southee 3-38, Neil Wagner 4-64) trail BLACKCAPS 105 (Ross Taylor 41, Ishant Sharma 3-28, Mohammed Shami 3-37) and 503 by 319 runs

India were left chasing 320 to win the first ANZ Test after a scintillating day three where 17 wickets tumbled. The BLACKCAPS firstly skittled India for 202 before crumbling to be all out for 105, leaving India to score 407 for victory.

The BLACKCAPS seam attack made the most of bowler friendly conditions at the start of day three. Movement from the pitch made life difficult for the Indian batsmen as Tim Southee, then Trent Boult and Neil Wagner got amongst the wickets.

First Ajinkya Rahane edged Southee to Ross Taylor at second slip for 26 before Boult bowled Rohit Sharma for 72. Wagner claimed the big wicket of MS Dhoni for 10, caught behind by BJ Watling to expose the tail, and from there, it was one way traffic.

India lost their last four wickets for 35 runs, with Wagner working up extreme pace to finish the innings with 4-63.

With a lead of 301 the talk at the break was of follow-ons, but Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton emerged to add to the BLACKCAPS' lead. Both openers were soon on their way back - Rutherford for a duck, lbw to Mohammed Shami, and Fulton not long after for five, caught driving the same bowler to cover.

Kane Williamson played an uncharacteristic shot, popping Zaheer Khan into the on-side to be caught by Ravindra Jadeja for three. Brendon McCullum was dropped on the second ball he faced, and did not last much longer, run out going for a tight second run on the last ball before lunch.

Corey Anderson was bowled by Shami for two before Watling and Taylor established the first real partnership of the innings.

Taylor survived a number of edges that didn't carry to the slip fieldsmen and pushed on, happy to take on any short pitched bowling that came his way. He made 41 before being caught by a blinder by Ajinkya Rahane in the gully after taking the BLACKCAPS lead past 350.

Southee was entertaining for his 14, but was caught meekly at mid-wicket from Jadeja. Wagner and Boult took the total past the 100 mark with some late resistance to set India a chase of 407 to win.

India made good inroads into that chase, which would be a record at Eden Park if achieved, as they reached 87-1 at stumps.

 

Day two:  BLACKCAPS 503 all out (Brendon McCullum 224, Corey Anderson 77, Ishant Sharma 6-134) lead India 130-4 (Rohit Sharma 67*, Murali Vijay 26, Trent Boult 2-20) by 373 runs

Skipper Brendon McCullum's double century and second highest Test score of 224 was the highlight for the BLACKCAPS, but it was run close by Trent Boult and Tim Southee's withering opening spell that had India 10-3, with Virat Kohli back in the shed. India recovered to be 130-4 at the close, but at 373 runs behind, they still have work to do on day three. 

India's chase began sensationally for New Zealand when Boult removed Shikar Dhawan for a duck with the third ball of the innings, with a leading edge flying to Kane Williamson in the gully. Cheteshwar Pujara went three balls later for one when he reached and edged a wide one that BJ Watling snaffled to leave India 3-2 at the end of the first over. 

Southee followed up a couple of overs later with the big wicket of Kohli, who got a glove, then his helmet, to a ball that rose sharply from the pitch to leave India 10-3. Kohli strode off unhappily but Snicko showed there was contact with the glove.  


The innings had a slightly surreal feel at this point, before Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma steadied the ship in the face of testing spells from Boult and Southee, then Corey Anderson and Neil Wagner. The visitors reached 51-4 before Wagner bowled Vijay with a magnificent seaming delivery to Wagner's great delight. 

The New Zealand attack turned to spin from Ish Sodhi and Williamson as they searched for further wickets but Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane negotiated the final period before bad light ended things at 5.30pm, with the players unable to return. 

At the start of play McCullum and Anderson resumed at 329-4 with McCullum quickly bringing up his 150 and Anderson his 50 after settling in. Anderson began to play his shots and quickly raced to 77, before being trapped lbw by Ishant Sharma. 
 
Watling came and went before Southee scored 28 in caviller fashion with three fours and two sixes before being bowled by Mohmmed Shami. Sodhi and McCullum built a partnership of 56 before Sodhi became Ishant Sharma's fifth victim, caught by Rohit Sharma for 23. 

After Wagner was caught at slip for a duck, McCullum really put the foot down in an effort to score as many runs as fast as he could. The skipper went for broke, swinging at everything that came his way and took the total over 500 runs with a six over fine leg. He finally went to a fine juggling catch by Ravindra Jadeja on the long on boundary to end his innings on 224, one short of his highest Test total. 

It was a great day's Test cricket, with careful and powerful shots played, as well as some testing seam bowling from both sides. Play will start half an hour earlier at 10.30am tomorrow.  


Day one: BLACKCAPS 329-4 (Brendon McCullum 143*, Kane Williamson 113, Corey Anderson 42*, Zaheer Kahn 2-98, Ishant Sharma 2-62). 

Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson put on a fourth wicket partnership that took the BLACKCAPS from a nerve-jangling 30-3 to a confident 251-4, with both men bringing up their hundreds. The partnership of 221 wrestled the initiative back, helping the BLACKCAPS to 329-4 at the close with McCullum unbeaten on 143 and Corey Anderson on 42. 


MS Dhoni won his sixth toss of the series and was very happy to insert the BLACKCAPS on a pitch with patchy green grass, and with healthy cloud cover overhead. Openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford looked tentative at the start, with the ball doing a bit in the air and off the pitch. 

Rutherford went cutting Ishant Sharma to gully, where Rahane took a blinder to send him on his way for six. Fulton was next to go, surviving a very convincing lbw shout before Zaheer trapped him in front for 13, closely followed by Ross Taylor, caught at mid-off for three from Sharma. 

The innings was wobbling at 30-3, but Williamson and McCullum both survived chances to begin digging in, making it through to lunch with no further loss. The early bounce and sideways movement from the deck appeared to have settled down and the sun came out to make for better batting conditions in the afternoon. Williamson notched up his sixth consecutive 50 against India, with McCullum not far behind to his half century. Both players were prepared to put away bad balls, with Williamson balletic off the back foot and McCullum showing no mercy square of the wicket.  


After tea the milestones came thick and fast with McCullum in particular looking to up the tempo. McCullum clinched his eighth Test century with a six down the ground shortly after the 200 partnership came up, and Williamson was right behind him to three figures, showing no nerves through the 90s. 

Williamson went shortly afterwards to a leg side strangle for 113 from 172 balls, caught Dhoni from Zaheer Khan, and he walked off to warm applause from the crowd. 

McCullum and Anderson established the second significant partnership of the day to make it through to the late finish unbeaten. McCullum continued to be ruthless with bad balls, while Anderson took his time playing himself in before looking to free his arms, scoring five fours and a six to reach an overnight score of 42. 

The BLACKCAPS will be pleased with their position at the end of day one, and will look to push toward 400 and beyond on day two. 

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