India, led by Virat Kohli, enjoyed a great day in office and finished the first day’s play of third Test in Indore at 267/3 against New Zealand. Kohli led from the front and scored his 13th Test ton and first since his double hundred against West Indies in July, a wait of 11 Tests. He remained unbeaten at 103 from 191 balls and was supported by Ajinkya Rahane who struggled his way to 79* at close. Earlier, Kohli continued his love affair with coin-toss and won his seventh toss in a row as captain and decided to bat first. Murali Vijay was sent back early by Jeetan Patel but comeback man Gautam Gambhir played some wonderful shots and reached 29 with help of four fours and two sixes before being trapped LBW. Cheteshwar Pujara was played wonderfully before being undone by a Mitchell Santner ripper. Rahane struggled initially and later with thr short ball but kept his calm. Close to 19,000 people attend the first ever day of Test cricket in Indore.
STUMPS ON DAY 1! INDIA 267/3
The day belongs to India. A great innings from Virat Kohli who also shared a 167-runs stand with Ajinkya Rahane (79*). Both will resume play on Sunday and hope to consolidate
First century of the series and that is from Virat Kohli! 13th of the Test career, 6th as captain, 4th in India, 3rd against New Zealand and this was a no-chance innings. Brilliant, controlled innings from the skipper
HUNDRED FOR VIRAT KOHLI!
A close run-out chance as Neesham with a direct-hit but Kohli’s dive saved him. He began celebrating but then stopped as the third umpire made his decision. Crowd erupts as they see the replay on big screen. Kohli gestures towards the dressing room
Swing comes into play with the new ball! Some outswingers from Matt Henry but Rahane and Kohli are playing their shots. India 246/3 with 7 overs left in the day
If light permits, 11 more overs will be bowled today. 79 overs done and India are 229/3. The new ball will be available after this Mitchell Santner over
SIX! And that’s gone flying into the second tier of the stands. FIFTY for Jinx! Steps down the track to Jeevan Patel and smacks it. Crowd and his wife all applaud the milestone
200 up for India with a boundary off a lucky Virat Kohli. Gets a thick edge and it flies into the slips region where there is no fielder placed and it runs off to third man for a four. India bring up their 200 in 72nd over
The crowd is getting behind Virat Kohli. Loud chants of “Kohli, Kohli” as Boult runs in to bowl. Kohli into the sixties now!
CLOSE! Two close calls for Rahane in two balls. First, he gets a short ball from Neesham but takes his eyes off it. Hits on the arm guard. New Zealand players appeal but not out.
Rahane chases a wide next ball. Very close to the edge. Neesham swinging it
Excellent use of the feet from Ajinkya Rahane and he send it over mid-off for a four! India reach 165/3 after 61 overs
FIFTY! Virat Kohli reaches his 13th Test half-century with a couple. Wonderful drive that won’t go to the boundary. No celebrations from the captain but the dressing room applauds and so does the crowd
Players back after the break! 150 up for India with two singles. Partnership between Rahane and Kohli also worth 50 now. Jeetan Patel has resumed after Tea for New Zealand
Tea in Indore! India have reached 148/3. Only 73 runs in the second session. Kohli and Rahane at the crease. New Zealand would feel one more wicket and they would have been level with India
50 overs have been bowled and India are 127/3. The run-rate has dropped significantly but Kohli and Rahane not looking troubled. Spin in the attack from New Zealand
Ajinkya Rahane has brought up 200 runs in Test cricket. This is his 29th match for India. Great achievement for him and he has a long way to go
Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli take India to 111/3 and the players head for drinks. The pitch is now assisting the spinners and turning. Couple of balls from Patel went past Kohli’s outside edge
WICKET! Cheteshwar Pujara b Mitchell Santner 41. Spoke too soon I guess. Santner catches Pujara at the crease. Pitched and good length and it straightens. Pujara playing for the line and deceived in the air. Loses his off-stump. India 100/3
100 up for India in the 36th over! Scoring just below three runs per over. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in the middle and they are dealing in singles
30 overs gone and India are 86/2. The crowd in Indore is swelling. Close to 19, 000 people in. India cautious after Lunch
The players are walking back to the middle after the Lunch break! India are 75/2 with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are the two unbeaten batsmen for India
Lunch on Day 1. India 75/2. An even session as India lost two wickets. Pujara is once again looking solid on a difficult pitch. Kohli beginning his innings with him. This pitch will only be difficult to bat on as time passes
Virat Kohli underway with boundary! Boult coming over the wicket Kohli opens the face of the bat for a wonderful drive. India 66/2 after 22 overs
WICKET! Gautam Gambhir lbw b Trent Boult 29. Gambhir has to go as it hurries on to the pad. Bringing down his bat down at angle and was caught at the crease, India 60/2
Some slow overs for India as Trent Boult and Matt Henry continue to bowl a tight line. Gambhir and Pujara have switched to playing cautiously and leaving most things outside off
50 up for India after the 13 overs. A good start from the hosts! Gambhir looking solid here
After overs of spin, Matt Henry returns after the drinks break. He will bowl to Gautam Gambhir with Cheteshwar Pujara on the other end
Another boundary for Gambhir in the Jeetan Patel over! A cut behind square for his third boundary. He also has two sixes.
Gambhir moves on to 24* and is yet to take a run in this innings
A boundary for Gambhir from that Santner and that will be end of the sixth over for India. They are 30/1. Pujara and Gambhir at the crease. Vijay is the man dismissed
Spin from both ends now! Mitchell Santner will bowl to Gautam Gambhir. Williamson reading the pitch early here
WICKET! Murali Vijay c Tom Latham b Jeetan Patel 10. What a catch by Tom Latham at short-leg! New Zealand’s move to bring on Jeetan Patel so early has worked
Spin in the attack from New Zealand. Jeetan Patel will bowl his off spin in the fifth over of the day
SIX and SIX! Two short balls from Henry and two pulls from Gambhir. Both land beyond the ropes. What a start from the comeback man
He is already 16* off 11 balls
FOUR! First runs for Gautam Gambhir as he stands tall to a short and wide ball. Poor bowling from Matt Henry! Gambhir to quick to get in the position and send it to the boundary
Matt Henry will bowl the second over. He was very impressive in Kolkata. Murali Vijay will be facing him as he took a single on the last ball of the previous over
Woah! We have a situation after the first ball of the match!
The seam of the new ball pushed inwards as it bounced. Umpires are replacing with it with another new ball
Indian openers Murali Vijay and Gautam Gambhir walking out to the middle. Trent Boult to begin with the new ball. Vijay on strike
PLAYING XI FOR INDIA:
Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rothit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
PLAYING XI FOR NEW ZEALAND:
Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling, Jeetan Patel, Matt Henry, Trent Boult
India: Gautam Gambhir, Umesh Yadav in for Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
New Zealand: Kane Williamson, Jimmy Neesham in for Henry Nichollas, Neil Wagner
After being sidelined for more than two years, Gautam Gambhire has returned to the Indian cricket team. He will open the innings for India against New Zealand
Once again Virat Kohli has won the toss and elected to bat first in Indore’s first ever Test match. Batting is got going to be easy on this pitch
PITCH REPORT: Sunil Gavaskar says it has a lot of wrinkles on it. Which means it will be very difficult for batsmen and will spin
Win toss, bat first
“ITNE BHI bure din nahi dekhe.” It was a one-line response delivered with a smile and also one that captured both Mohammed Shami and his enigma. The question itself was the kind you expect to be thrown at an Indian cricketer whose origins are in the hinterland, especially in terms of the cricketing geography of the country. The query is about the tough times and how they’ve been overcome en route to arriving on this big stage.
But the way in which Shami dismissed it, despite the politeness, was a glaring indicator of how little is known about the fast bowler from Kolkata. In an era where few Indian cricketers have managed to keep their fourth wall from being breached and their back stories becoming urban legends – one even making its way to the silver-screen — Shami has kept himself safely in this cocoon.
It was during the World Cup last February that he had divulged the little insight into his background. Since, Shami has spent a whole year recuperating from a serious knee surgery and made an extremely successful comeback to international cricket. He’s now among the first names to be inked into an Indian playing XI across all formats. But still he continues to be revelling in his anonymity.
He’s also been the enforcer that Virat Kohli has employed to devastating effect whenever the Kiwis have threatened to make a fist of the game in both Tests so far. The much-publicized mega home season has mainly incited talk and debate over pitches favouring the Indian spinners and how many Test wickets R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will end up with by March. But as India look to seal their third whitewash in four series on home soil, the 26-year-old seamer from Kolkata has shown that he’s a potent weapon for captain Kohli in the No.1 ranked Test team’s quest to dominate all-comers over the next five months.
There’s little to Shami the person that is honestly too eye-catching. He certainly doesn’t fit the stereotype of the modern-day Indian cricketer, brash and wearing their attitude on their sleeve, body or mane. Neither is he a Cheteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane who thrive on keeping a low-profile. He almost slips through the cracks when you talk of cricketer’s public profiles. But he’s the kind of honest gives-it-his-all performer who will always top every captain’s popularity ratings.
Even his arrival on the scene came without much hullabaloo. Generally pacers who make it to the Indian Test team rarely do so without generating hype. If Umesh Yadav did so by dismissing both Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in one fiery spell in a Duleep Trophy encounter, Varun Aaron came through after clocking the fastest ball recorded in a televised competitive game on Indian soil.
Shami neither stands out with his pace nor is he someone who swings the ball appreciably. If anything, in his early days in international cricket he had the look and air of someone you would imagine clocking many miles on the domestic circuit without ever catching anyone’s attention. Or maybe get one go at glory before slipping into oblivion.
But in his first two Tests itself during the Sachin Tendulkar farewell series against the West Indies, Shami showed that he had the ability to give his captain a breakthrough soon after he was thrown the old ball and also change the momentum of the game with a double-blow.
He broke a dangerous stand between Marlon Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul within 10 balls in his second spell. In his very next over he removed Denesh Ramdin. Against New Zealand too while Ashwin and Jadeja have filled their pockets with wickets it’s been Shami’s incisiveness in his later spells that has made India’s job easier and ensured the mighty margins of victory.
At Kanpur he broke the gritty Mitchell Santner-Luke Ronchi rearguard in two deliveries. In Kolkata, he picked up a wicket in the seventh ball of a new spell before adding another victim three balls later. In the second innings of that Test he sent back Watling and Santner in successive overs.
It was a task that Zaheer Khan shouldered for close to a decade for captain after captain on Indian wickets. Shami seems to have slipped into that role rather seamlessly though it’s his remarkable seam position that has made him such an impact bowler.