India were cruising along on the first day’s play against New Zealand after winning the toss at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay were coasting along and making merry with the new ball after KL Rahul had exited the middle in the 11th over after scoring 32. At lunch, India were 105/1 and were in command in the 500th Test with many captains over the years looking on.
The tide turned in the next two sessions as India threw wickets away in some cases and at times, New Zealand bowlers made the most of the pitch to force the batsmen into making errors.
The reversal of fortunes began late into the second session with Pujara – who was coming into the match on the back of 166 and 256 in the Duleep Trophy – popping the ball straight back to Mitchell Santner to make it 154/2.
Virat Kohli followed soon after playing a poor shot that you won’t associate with him. Having already hit Neil Wagner for a boundary, Kohli tried to go after a short one but got a top edge that flew straight to Ish Sodhi on the ropes.
In the second last over of the post-lunch session, Vijay became the last of the set batsmen to depart. He had remained patient throughout his 169 ball stay in the middle to not go after short balls or anything that could be threatening but for late cuts that he hit with much confidence. And that is what got him in the end as he tried to for a late cut to Sodhi but was taken by BJ Watling behind the stumps.
The final session had Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin put 52 runs together before the Mumbai player walked back to a poor shot. He tried to go over the top to Santner but couldn’t clear the ropes and was taken by Sodhi at long on.
Wickets continued to fall post that too with Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav surviving at the end. In the final two sessions, India had scored 186 runs and lost eight wickets.
Here is how Twitterati reacted to the first day’s play:
154/1 looking set to bat 1.5 days and end up with only one wicket in hand by the end of 1st day…How can you not love Test cricket? #IndvNZ
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 22 September 2016
Pretty sure, now, that’s it’s New Zealand’s day.#INDvNZ
— Iain O’Brien (@iainobrien) 22 September 2016
Great fightback by New Zealand.
Vijay ‘s wicket very crucial.
This partnership the key now.
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 22 September 2016
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) 22 September 2016
Absolutely impressed with NZ. Didn’t make the typical mistakes that foreign teams make start of an Ind tour. Especially their spinners.
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) 22 September 2016
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) 22 September 2016
For New Zealand, Santner and Boult were the most efficient picking up three wickets each.