New Zealand have done exceedingly well in making a comeback in the ongoing 3-Test Series by ending the opening day’s play of the second Test at Napier at 351 for 4. This grand total came despite a horrible start of 23 for 3 on a perfect batting strip. The inform Jesse Ryder scored a technically solid unbeaten 137 while the real fire power came from the strokefully talented Ross Taylor who cracked 151. The Indian bowling didn’t have any direction with the regular Skipper MS Dhoni missing out due to a back spasm leaving Virender Sehwag to take the charge.
Morning Session: Kiwis rocked back by poor batting
New Zealand won an important toss and they decided to bat first, they made a couple of changes with the injured Daniel Flynn getting replaced by Jamie How and Kyle Mills making way for Jeetan Patel. India had replaced MS Dhoni with the ever inconsistent keeper Dinesh Karthik. McIntosh opened his account with a boundary and was all set to put up a steady start with Guptill until he played along the wrong line to an Ishant Sharma delivery in the 8th over. Unfortunately for McIntosh (12), it appeared that he had got a straightforward nick but it was infact the bat hitting the pad that made the noise. In the final ball of the 9th over, Jamie How (1) played all around a full length inswinger from Zaheer to get cleaned up. Zaheer with his next ball got Guptill (8) fending a surprising bouncer to gully. New Zealand was in a disarray at 23 for 3 in the 11th over although the pitch offered minimum of sideways movement plus there was no swing in the air as well.
The Kiwis finally saw some class in their batting through the pair of Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder, the latter defied the hat-trick for Zaheer. The two batsmen showed that the pitch was a paradise for batting and the bowlers had little margin of error. Runs came in thick and fast which allowed the Kiwis to end the first session at a better looking 98 for 3 in 26 overs with both batsmen moving into 30s.
Afternoon Session: Taylor, Ryder bat through the post lunch session
The post lunch session was extremely frustrating for the Indians. Runs continued to come at a busy rate with Ross Taylor finding the boundaries at will in the company of the technically sound Jesse Ryder. Harbhajan Singh was the only hope for India and the off spinner did reasonably well in tightening up things at his end. India went wicketless though in the entire afternoon session with New Zealand progressing to 233 for 3 in just 55 overs. Taylor had gone past some anxious moments to record his third test hundred and Ryder was closing in at 87. It was a very productive session for the Kiwis with 135 runs coming in 29 overs.
Final Session: Kiwis have a great finish to the opening day
The pair of Taylor and Ryder continued to grow strong and take New Zealand almost to the 300-run mark. It was in the 70th over that Ross Taylor finally lost his patience and concentration to top edge an ambitious slog sweep off Harbhajan to be caught at deep squareleg by Yuvraj Singh. It was a wonderful sliding catch under pressure with the ball swirling away from Yuvraj. Taylor had smacked 151 by then in just 204 balls (with 26 fours and a six) in a record 4th wicket partnership of 271 with Ryder. Taylor had offered more than three chances for the Indians which were all messed up, a couple of them were in the slips that could have been taken.
New Zealand finished the day’s play safely at 351 for 4 in 90 overs despite a rare comeback with the second new ball from Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. Jesse Ryder has moved onto 137 from 220 balls (with 17 fours and a six) and giving him company is James Franklin who has got 26 from 64 balls (with 5 fours). There were a couple of lives for Franklin in his stay. First he was given not out when he had got a big nick behind off Ishant in the 84th over and in the very next over was put down by Yuvraj in the slips off Zaheer.