India dominated New Zealand on the second day of the second Test in Kolkata after reducing them to 128/7 in the first innings, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s five-wicket haul. Bad light forced play being called off for a second consecutive day. Full overs were not possible on Saturday because of rain which interrupted the match for more than two hours. India were dismissed for 316 in their first innings. Bhuvneshwar first dismissed Martin Guptill early in the New Zealand innings and later picked up Henry Nichollas after Lunch. But early Tea was taken as rain arrived 30 minutes before scheduled time of Tea. After resumption, Bhuvneshwar picked up three wicket, two on consecutive balls, to floor the Black Caps. Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja picked up a wicket each as well. India’s last three wickets added 76 runs to their overnight score of 239/7 with Wriddhiman Saha scoring an unbeaten half-century. New Zealand are still trailing India by 188 runs and only have three wickets in hand
Virat Kohli walks up to the stands to thank the crowd! He does the same on the other side of the dressing room. Asks his team-mates to do the same. Some routine that from him today! Good day for India
STUMPS on Day 2! The umpires decide it is not safe to play anymore. Visibility lower than yesterday. New Zealand will end day’s play at 128/7, trailing India by 188 runs
THAT WAS CLOSE! The hat-trick ball from Bhuvnehswar shapes away from Jeetan Patel who was looking to play it on the off side. Very close to the outside edge. But Bhuvnehswar, on the previous ball picked up his first five-wicket haul at home
WICKET! Matt Henry b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 0. Two in two for Bhuvneshwar! Matt Henry caught in the crease as the ball comes back to kiss the off-stump. Five wickets for Bhuvi and he is on a hat-trick
WICKET! Mitchell Santner lbw b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 11. Change of angle as Bhuvi decides to come round the wicket. Santner is late to bring his bat down as the ball hits the back pad. Plumb
Mohammed Shami is steaming in and bowling consistently over 140kmph. New Zealand have BJ Watling and Mitchell Santner out in the middle. Half of their team is already back in the pavilion
WICKET! Ross Taylor c Murali Vijay b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 36. Beautiful from Bhuvi! He pitches it perfectly outside off and Ross Taylor plays for the angle. It holds it line and the edge goes to Vijay at first slip. Big smile on Taylor’s face. Light situation?
Mohammed Shami making the ball talk! Bouncers, in-swingers and pace. Toss Taylor having a troubled time! 100 up for New Zealand but umpires are checking for light now
Jadeja bowls his two balls remaining in the over and only give one run. New Zealand move onto 86/4 but still trail India by 230 runs
Virat Kohli & Co. walk out to the middle and they would love to pick up a wicket or two before close of play! It’s still very dark in Kolkata and flood lights are on. Santner and Taylor are the batsmen for New Zealand
A long delay there but the covers are finally off and the players are warming up. Play set to resume anytime now
We have good news! The covers are off and umpires have decided that play can resume. Play in final session will resume at 1525 hrs IST. 10 minutes from now
Not great news so far! The water is being removed from the ground and it will take sometime before we can start play! There will be an inspection at 2:55 pm IST by umpires
Shower in Kolkata has passed. The groundsmen are taking the covers off the ground. If not further rain, we can have play in the next 20 minutes
Early Tea has been taken at the Eden Gardens as covers are still on at the Eden Gardens. If there is no further rain in Kolkata, the play can start at 1400 hrs IST
Covers on at Eden Gardens as rain arrives. As soon as Jadeja picks up Ronchi, umpires decide to call the covers and we have a break in play
WICKET! Luke Ronchi lbw b Ravindra Jadeja. He was probing there for a while now and Jadeja finally gets a wicket. Ronchi is gone for 35. A harsh decision from Rod Tucker as it would have gone down the leg-side
Dark clouds over Eden Gardens now. Little drizzle also starting. Umpires discussing and groundstaff is ready with covers
Jadeja and Ashwin slowly begin to troubling the batsmen. A ball from Ashwin creeps along the pitch. No bounce at all. Then a chance but the it falls just short of Ashwin. All happening
Another maiden from Jadeja and Ashwin back! A better over from Ashwin as he kept is more straight and on a better length. A edge on the last ball that went past the slip for four. Jadeja again
Jadeja back! And he gets one to hit Ronchi’s pads. Jadeja and the close-in fielder are sure but umpire isn’t. He asks Jadeja to not run on the pitch while appealing. Jadeja is livid. Looked close, very close
R Ashwin goes for 13 runs off his first over. A four from Ronchi and then two fours from Taylor on either side of the square. New Zealand move on to 65/3
Jadeja with a maiden in his first over. R Ashwin from the other end. India attacking with spin from both ends. Ronchi on strikes
DROPPED! Luke Ronchi can thanks his luck. A sharp chance to substitute Gautam Gambhir at short point but he puts it down. It was catch able but…
Jadeja to bowl the 15th over
12 overs gone and New Zealand are now 48/3. Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi are the batsmen in the middle for them
WICKET! Henry Nichollas b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1. Bhuvneshwar strikes after Lunch. A good length ball to which Nichollas tried a half-hearted shot but gets an inside edge. New Zealand three down
Players are back after the Lunch break on Day. Henry Nichollas and captain Ross Taylor are the batsmen for New Zealand. Mohammed Shami will begin proceedings
LUNCH! New Zealand 21/2, trail India by 295 runs in first innings. India’s session by a distance. The last three wickets added 77 runs to take the team past 300. Then the bowlers picked up two wickets in 5 overs
WICKET! Martin Guptill b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 13. Unlucky for Guptill! He tries to leave a straight ball that bounces a bit extra. Hits his elbow and goes onto hit the stumps. Bowled
WICKET! Tom Latham lbw b Mohammed Shami 1. What a start this from Shami! He picks up first wicket in the second over. Bowling round the wicket to left-handed Latham who fails to bring his front-foot in full-stride. Caught at the crease and hit on the pads. Would have hit the leg-stump
New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham are out in the middle to open the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has the ball in hand for India
India are bowled out for 316 in the first innings of the second Test in Kolkata but this is a good total on this pitch. Spinners haven’t played a bigger role so far but the pitch will change as the game goes on. Will India miss the third seamer? That is yet to be seen
WICKET! Mohammed Shami c Matt Henry b Trent Boult 14. A stunning catch from Henry at the fine-leg boundary ends Shami’s innings and with that the India innings as well. Short from Boult and Shami pulls it but Henry sprints and throws both hands to his right to take the catch. Slides but hangs on to it. India 316 all out
Valuable runs from Saha with the last man Mohammed Shami. The latter is going for his shots and the edges are flying for fours. Kohli and Co. applauding every run from the dressing room
SIX and FIFTY! Local boy Saha goes inside out over covers and sends it over the boundary ropes. That is an important six. He brings up his fifty and India reach 300-run mark
WICKET! Bhuvneshwar Kumar LBW b Mitchell Santner 5. Oh umpire Rod Tucker! Bhuvi tried a sweep on the previous ball but missed and was plumb. Tucker said not out to everyone’s surprise. Next ball, Santner gets one on Bhuvi’s pad and it was drifting down the leg-side but Tucker took no time to raise his finger
WICKET! Ravindra Jadeja c Matt Henry b Neil Wagner 14. A set-up this from New Zealand and Jadeja fell for the trap. Wagner bowling short with two men on the leg-side boundary. Jadeja sees the ball the pulls but it is straight to the fine-leg. Out for 14
We have a double change from New Zealand. Mitchell Santner to bowl from the other end. The spinner hasn’t taken a wicket in this match so far
India still slow at this deteriorating pitch at Eden Gardens. The New Zealand bowlers have kept a tight line. Change in bowling now. Neil Wagner comes to bowl
A lot of short stuff from New Zealand bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry! The pitch is showing variable bounce but top stuff this from both the pacers. Jadeja and Saha having some trouble
Nine runs of the first three overs on day three for India. Trent Boult and Matt Henry keeping it straight and tight line to the Indian batsmen
Five runs off the first over off the day! Saha taking all the five runs. Matt Henry, who has taken three wickets, will bowl the second over. He has two slips and a gully
Trent Boult begins with a bouncer to Saha. Well directed but equally well left by the batsmen
The next ball is full and Saha drives it through covers for four! Handsome looking shot that
Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming rings the bell to announce the start of play on Day 2 of the Kolkata Test. Umpires walking out to the middle. Jadeja and Saha to resume for India
Ravindra Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha can bat for long and this is ideal situation for them to spend some quality time at the crease. Jadeja played two quick innings in first Test but here he needs to settle in and play for long
PITCH: The cracks are opening up at the Eden Gardens pitch. It is still held together but it won’t be long before it opens up drastically. Indian bowlers need to use those cracks to their advantage and then the spinners can take over
Day 2 of the second Test between India and New Zealand and we have an exciting day in offing. India will look to move closer to 300 total but New Zealand will look to pick the remaining three India wickets as soon as possible
Black Caps show craft; India graft
Losing the toss on brownish track is painful. Losing it when you have already lost your regular skipper and best batsman, Kane Williamson, hurts more. But to their credit, the visitors finished Day One stronger with India struggling at 239/7.
About an hour and half after he had won the toss, Virat Kohli was back on the pitch. With openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay out inside 12 overs, Kohli needed to justify the decision to bat first.
True to the curators’ prediction, the ball was doing a significant bit and the variable bounce was making things difficult for the batters. Matt Henry’s back of a length delivery kept a little low as Dhawan chopped it on to his stumps. In the previous over, New Zealand keeper BJ Watling had to jump full length to collect a Trent Boult delivery that was pitched up. Vijay nicked a Henry outswinger that he had to play but the spectators didn’t mind. The star attraction of Indian batting was at the crease.
This New Zealand team has a definite plan for Kohli. First, they try to cramp him for room and denying him quick singles. Then suddenly they try to induce him to play an expansive shot. They ploy worked at Kanpur, and in Kolkata too.
It’s the kind of a delivery that Wasim Akram would regularly try out. First, peg the batsmen down with his benders on the stumps, before hurling one full and wide. Sensing a chance to release pressure, the batsmen would go at it, and Ijaz Ahmed at point or Salim Malik at gully would gobble up the greedy mistake. This time in Kolkata, Boult sent one full and wide, and Kohli promptly obliged by chasing it – bat well away from the body, and coming down at a crooked angle. The resultant edge wasn’t a surprise, and the slice was pouched by Tom Latham at gully, who did really well to lunge to his right to come up with a good double-handed catch. The score read 46/3 and the hosts were badly in need of a partnership but Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane gelled well.
Pujara’s strike-rate had returned to the spotlight – different views were expressed by Kohli and Anil Kumble – following erstwhile chief selector Sandeep Patil’s revelation during the Kanpur Test. But in conditions like these, strike-rate becomes insignificant. Application comes to the fore. And the Saurashtra batsman showed plenty of it to thwart the opposition.
He took 10 balls to get off the mark, waiting to get one in the range. Henry obliged and Pujara hit him for back-to-back fours. When Boult bowled full, he drove him through covers. Loose balls were at a premium but Pujara was patient. It was Test match batting of very high class.
Jeetan Patel, who last played for New Zealand in 2013 before reinventing himself in county cricket with Warwickshire, came and found the outside edge. The ball, however, flew between the keeper and slip for a four, as the first slip went the wrong way. It was a phase when Pujara had been looking a tad edgy but that escape helped him concentrate harder.
His partner Ajinkya Rahane, too, took his time to settle down as India went to lunch at 57/3. With the sun beating down, conditions became a little easier for batting as the day progressed. And both Pujara and Rahane were positive, hardly missing a scoring opportunity. New Zealand bowlers rarely missed their line and length, but whenever they did, the two Indian batters punished them.
Henry bowled short and Pujara was back in a flash and drove it past point. The fast bowler overcorrected his length and Pujara clipped him off his toes to the deep square leg boundary. Rahane’s cover drive against Patel was gorgeous. He read the flight beautifully and covered the turn. It has been a slow progress – run-rate hovering around two-and-a-half – but Pujara and Rahane never got completely bogged down. A partnership was building and it released the pressure.
Pujara reached his fifty in 146 balls; his 10th in 61 Test innings. Rahane followed suit in 100 balls; his ninth in 47 innings.
India’s 100 came in the 47th over and 150 in the 65th. The two batsmen deserved some luck –a very close leg before shout against Pujara off Mitchell Santner was negated.
The Indians upped the ante after tea. The ball was old and the bowlers looked tired, chugging along in sweltering heat but the Kiwis stuck to their game plan. It was a two-paced pitch with the odd ball stopping. A short cover was in place for a mistimed drive and Pujara eventually fell into the trap as an uppish drive went straight to Martin Guptill.
Pujara was dismissed for 87, his third consecutive half-century in the series. But he should be disappointed with his conversion rate as he hasn’t scored a Test century since his 145 not out against Sri Lanka in Colombo in August last year.
Next man in Rohit Sharma survived a run out chance, injuring himself in the process. But he departed next over, done in by an excellent Patel delivery that turned and jumped. But Sharma too has to share some blame; he batted as if he was surprised that the ball turned, and ended up poking it lamely to short-leg.
And then, the New Zealand offie Patel, in for the injured Mark Craig, trapped Rahane leg before with a faster one. The advantage was surrendered. The second new ball accounted for R Ashwin and India were once again under pressure. Pujara and Rahane had mounted a recovery with a 141-run fourth wicket partnership but both got out at the wrong time.
“Yes, Pujara and I will take the blame, because we were set. He got out on 87 and I got out on 77. I think it was our responsibility to carry the partnership forward. See, batsmen just need one ball to get out, but I think if one of us had made a hundred, maybe our position would have been different,” Rahane said after the day’s play.
India would have been happy to finish the day with five wickets down but the couple of extra wickets evened it out. But the pitch is still unpredictable, the ball is turning, and in the absence of Williamson, 300 could be a good enough first-innings total.