India took strong hold of the second Test in Indore against New Zealand after declaring their first innings at 557/5. India captain Virat Kohli scored a double century, his second in Tests and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane scored 188 runs to help India reach the massive total in the first innings. Kohli became the first India captain to score two double centuries in Test cricket. The two batsmen shared a 365-run stand for the fourth wicket, which is the fifth highest for any wicket for India. Kohli was finally dismissed when Jeetan Patel trapped him in front of the wickets. Rahane was caught behind off Boult. Rohit Sharma scored his fifth half-century of the series before Kohli decided to declare. New Zealand survived the nine overs and were 28/0 at stumps.
STUMPS ON DAY 3! New Zealand survive the nine over as Martin Guptill took the aggressive route. He is unbeaten on 17 and Latham is on 6*. New Zealand are 28/0 and still trail India by 529 runs
Maiden over from Ashwin with some spin and purchase from the pitch. New Zealand remain at 17/0. It will be spin from other end as well as Ravindra Jadeja comes onto bowl
Ravichandran Ashwin is into the attack in the fifth over! Kohli has kept the off-side field open, inviting the batsman to play the drive. New Zealand are 17/0
Three overs gone in the New Zealand innings and they are 15/0. Couple of boundaries from the openers and five runs are from penalty
INDIA DECLARE AT 557/5! Finally the declaration from Virat Kohli. New Zealand have nine overs to play tonight
SIX AND FIFTY! Rohit Sharma has his third half-century of the series. A six over the bowlers head and he gestures towards the dressing room
Five-run penalty for India! Umpire books Ravindra Jadeja for running on the pitch for the second. Bang in the red zone and a good decision from the umpire
Virat Kohli signalling from the dressing room to Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja to go for their shots. Jadeja and Rohit going all out in the middle
The Indian players have changed into their whites now. Declaration round the corner for India. They are currently 535 for the loss of five wickets
Ravindra Jadeja receives a warning from umpire for running on the pitch. He received one in Kolkata as well. That was while bowling but this is when he is batting
DRINKS IN INDORE!
Rohit Sharma with consecutive fours off Trent Boult and India are scoring some quick runs. They are 525/5. Will Kohli declare and give his bowlers a go at New Zealand batsmen in the last hour of the day?
WICKET! Ajinkya Rahane c BJ Watling b Trent Boult 188. Gone! A brilliant innings comes to an end. Boult comes round the wicket and angles it into the righthander. Rahane goes for the drive to a not so wide ball. Thick edge and Watling takes a good diving catch to his right
CLOSE! Rohit Sharma survives. He tries to play it from far away from the body and lobs it over mid-on. The fielder runs back and tries to catch it with a full length dive. Was in his hands before popping out. Effort
500 up for India!
India bring up fifth team hundred in the 157th over with Rahane and Rohit at the crease. Rahane is on 186*
India 495/4 with Rahane and Rohit. Rahane is cramping a bit. He is very close to his first double hundred in Test cricket. Will he able to go through the cramps?
Ajinkya Rahane continues to find the gaps and scoring runs through the cover region. Exceptional drives. India 482/4 after 153 overs
Rahane and Rohit in the middle. The two Mumbai batsmen have played together for a long time at different levels. India are inching closer to 500. Rahane is getting closer to his double century
WICKET! Virat Kohli lbw b Jeetan Patel 211. End of an excellent innings from the Indian captain. Looked tired playing that shot. Regular ball on middle-leg line and goes on. Kohli is late and the balls hits him on the pads. Plumb
Tea in Indore on Day 2
VIRAT KOHLI SCORES 200*
First Indian captain to make two double centuries in Test cricket. Just dabs it to fine-leg for a single and completes the single calmly, no close this time! There is the stretched arm celebrations
139 overs gone and India are 439/3. Virat Kohli is on 194* and Ajinkya Rahane is on 158*. New Zealand playing the waiting game! Waiting the batsman to make a mistake
India reach 433/3 and there is no way New Zealand bowlers can take a wicket here. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane with a superb partnership. Kohli approaching his second 200 in Tests
150 for Ajinkya Rahane! For the first time in his Test career Ajinkya Rahane has crossed the 150-run mark. Uppish drive over covers to get a boundary
Big crowd once again in Indore! Chants of “India, India” as the team continue to score runs. This the first time India have crossed the 400-run mark since 2013
400 up for India Kohli and Rahane continue to punish New Zealand bowlers as India bring up the 400. Their stand in now worth 300*
Both Indian batsmen are showing a world class domination of spinners. Rahane steps out against Patel and sends it over mid-wicket for a big six. Reaching to the pitch of the ball and playing it with the turn
A rare sight! Virat Kohli has reverse-swept Santner for a four through third-man boundary. He is so confident out there. Excellent play from the captain
150 for Virat Kohli The captain keeps on scoring big runs. Just a single to reach the 150. This is his third 150-plus score in Test cricket. His highest being 200 against West Indies
Players back on the field after the Lunch break and Jeetan Patel will bowl to Virat Kohli who is on 149*. India are resuming at 358/3 and are in complete control
Lunch break on Day 2. India 358/3 (Kohli 149*, Rahane 124*).
Back after 35 minutes
Lunch on Day 2 India are 358/3 and are in complete control with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. A lot of batting still left for India
Kohli 149* and Rahane 124*
350 up for India as Rahane sends one for another six Steps down the pitch and reaches the pitch of the ball to send it over long-off
<250-run stand also up between Kohli and Rahane
Both Indian batsmen playing with patience in the middle. No risks taken and rotating the strike. New Zealand bowlers have failed to trouble them today
New Zealand bowlers are playing waiting game! They are waiting for the batsmen to make a mistake. No cutting edge in their bowling so far on Day 2. Need to pick one of Kohli or Rahane to keep themselves in the match
Exceptional use of feet from Rahane to get to the pitch of the ball from Jeetan Patel. Sends it over long-off for big six ! That was quite a surprise from Rahane
HUNDRED! Ajinkya Rahane gets to his century with a single towards fine-leg. Another short ball from Boult but Rahane dabs it to the fine-leg fielder to take the single and complete his eighth century in Test . His wife is all smiles and so is his captain and partner in the middle Virat
CLOSE! Virat Kohli has an anxious moment there. Defends a regular ball from Jeetan Patel but it hits him low on the bat. It bounces inside the crease behind Kohli and bounces just over the stumps. Kohli looked back but did not know where the ball was. India 301/3 after 99 overs
300 up for India in the 99th over! Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli bring up the 200-run stand as well. Rahane on 95* now
OUCH! Straight on the helmet (looked like it hit the grill). Bouncer from Matt Henry to which Rahane fails to duck properly. Hits him on the back side of the helmet close to the ear with a loud sound. He seems okay. New Zealand players walk up to check. Physio is called but everything seems fine
Gorgeous cover drive from Rahane to get the first boundary of the day! Just putting his bat forward and the shot coming out of the middle. It raced to the boundary. Delight for the crowd
Pace and spin from either end from New Zealand to Kohli and Rahane. Good three overs for India as they take eight runs from them. Not much swing or movement there
Brilliant day for cricket in Indore. Crowd coming in numbers and more fans waiting outside the stadium. They are cheering every shot. Humidity on the higher side but the temperature is close to 30 degrees
Day 2 in Indore and India will look to began where Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane left on Day 1. India are 267/3 with Kohli at 103* and Rahane at 79*
THEY FINALLY got lucky with the third-ball change of the day. The first change had come about within the first handful of overs so it didn’t really have much of an impact. But neither the second ball in use nor the third that was brought into play in the 51st over was helping the Kiwis generate the much sought-after reverse swing.
It wasn’t without effort. Skipper Kane Williamson and Tom Latham were spending at least two minutes each rubbing the ball against various parts of their attire. But to no avail. But of the two deliveries that Jimmy Neesham delivered in the 62nd over with this one, the first jagged back sharply into Virat Kohli while the next straightened and squared up Ajinkya Rahane.
Finally the Kiwis had something to play with. There was movement in the air. This was their chance to break the stranglehold that the two Indians had placed on them. Not surprisingly, Williamson immediately turned to his pace spearheads, Matt Henry and Trent Boult. As it turned out, Boult would deliver probably his worst spell of the tour.
He was either too wide or too short and hardly gave the ball much of a chance to swing. And he was off within two overs.
\At the other end, though Henry did trouble Rahane with a couple of short-pitched deliveries that lifted off the surface, he too was a mixed bag. Finally after keeping India on the leash for a majority of the first two Tests with the ball, the wheels were coming off for the Kiwis.
It wasn’t surprising though. When you have given it your all under the searing Indian sun for two weeks and had the opponent and mat before failing to seize the initiative. And especially when the score-line reads 2-0, you can understand why the Kiwis had finally begun to lose the plot.
Why they had finally started to wilt against the Indian onslaught.
False start for pacers
Boult and Henry hadn’t started too well either, as Indore’s first-ever Test began in manic fashion. The Kiwi new-ball bowlers were a bit all over the place and Gautam Gambhir playing his first Test in two years hooked Henry for sixes off consecutive deliveries in only the fourth over of the innings. It resulted in New Zealand turning to spin, Jeetan Patel, earlier than they ever have in this century and he even got rid of Murali Vijay in his first over—the fifth of India’s innings.
Boult and Henry did pull things back well during their second spells before the lunch-break with the former accounting for Gambhir. But like they’ve done earlier on the tour as well, they let India slip. Generally it’s been teams—like England in 2012—who have won the pressure moments that have managed to overcome India’s nearly-indomitable might at home. In Kolkata, India were 46 for 3 and the Kiwis had to wait till the score was 187 before their next scalp while in the second innings at Eden Gardens they let India rebuild from 106 for 6 to a total of 209.
More hope than planning
Though Kohli and Rahane do deserve their due for overcoming whatever the Kiwis threw at them, it was obvious that Boult & Co were for the first time operating more with hope than a plan as the fourth wicket partnership began to take complete control of proceedings. The second new-ball might have brought some hope for the visitors but Boult was again off-colour and they let the Indian pair score 38 in the last 10 overs thus giving the Indians more or less complete control of the third Test.
Virat Kohli’s hands were already semi-pointing towards the dressing-room in ecstasy when umpire Kumar Dharmasena began drawing a box in the air with his hands. The Indian captain of course was certain that his desperate dive and last-minute lunge to make it to the crease at the bowlers’ end had beaten the direct-hit from Jimmy Neesham from point. The Kiwi all-rounder had helped his cause by taking one step too many before releasing the ball.
But with Dharmasena choosing to employ the third-umpire’s services to take the final call, a sheepish Kohli had to cut short his celebration ritual and instead wait for a few extra minutes before letting out the vent-up emotion—even if it did seem a tad anticlimactic eventually.
That Kohli was in a hurry to raise his hands is understandable. Not only had he scored his first century on Indian soil in 17 innings since 2013, he had also become the first batsman to cross three-figures in this series. Even though India sat pretty with an unassailable 2-0 lead going into Indore, it hasn’t been a series of many personal hoorahs for Kohli the batsman. And he’s spent the last two weeks at press conferences singing the praises of almost all his teammates who have made contributions of varying degrees with bat and ball to orchestrate the series triumph. Other times, he’s had to fend off multiple queries over his apparent ‘bad form’, which has not seen him score a half-century since the 200 in Antigua.
But here, in front of a packed house on Saturday, he’d ticked that one remaining box in what has been a remarkable start to his Test captaincy career—a three-figure score in front of the home crowd. It also silenced all the cynical whispers resulting from his low run of scores while also helping India take control of the third Test. Kohli is still unbeaten on 103 with Ajinkya Rahane on course for a ton too, 79 not out presently, with India sitting pretty on 267/3.
When Kohli did finally point his bat in the direction of the crowd, they roared back in approval. Indore couldn’t have asked for a better start to its Test career than have the most celebrated headliner in Indian cricket’s modern era lighting up the occasion with a sensational century. To their credit, they had queued up outside the Holkar Stadium in droves since the early hours of the morning. And by the time Kohli won the toss—in what is becoming an inevitable outcome—thousands were waiting patiently in long sinuous lines to get their first taste of Test cricket in person. What was even more impressive was the lack of chaos, which you would consider almost par for the course in these scenarios.
By the time, Kohli walked out to bat the official crowd figure read 18,600—an eye-popping number as far as Test audiences go these days. And news of the superstar’s arrival at the crease only accentuated that number even more drastically. It wasn’t really a trademark Kohli century though. The knock wasn’t littered with an array of punchy and delectable strokes and set to the tone of domination—which loosely is his mantra whenever he has bat in hand. His 13th Test ton was more based on prudent restraint and dogmatic defiance even though the first scoring-shot was a trademark cover-drive off a full delivery that went for four. For the record, it was his fourth slowest century coming off 184 balls.
It wasn’t really a case of Kohli entering a shell of any sorts but more about trying his best to reign himself in and trying to eliminate the errors that had cost him his wicket earlier in the series. Though it flattened out as the day wore on—or let’s say Kohli and Rahane made it appear so—the pitch did exhibit a few worrying signs at the start.
The lack of bounce was evident with bouncers carrying through stomach-high and at times even the fast bowlers struggling to generate decent carry en route to BJ Watling behind the stumps.
Jimmy Neesham and Jeetan Patel were the first challengers that Kohli had to see off. While Patel had gotten himself into a nice rhythm, Neesham as always was erratic making the all-rounder an awkward prospect on the up-and-down wicket. Kohli had gotten out in Kolkata while chasing a wide, full delivery from Trent Boult after being set up with a few short-pitched deliveries. With a gully and a wide slip in place a familiar trap seemed to have been set for Kohli with Neesham bowling. But the Indian skipper didn’t seem keen on chasing any wild gooses on this occasion.
Patel on the other hand had a short mid-wicket—slightly straighter than usual—in place and had left the cover region empty, tempting Kohli to drive through there on the up. But it took 16 deliveries from Patel before Kohli finally even launched into a drive, and that too when the ball landed right under his bat. Kohli was playing the patience game and for a change he was winning and not getting sucked into going for the jugular. With the pitches being the way they are during home Tests in India these days, it’s a battle that batsmen have to overcome on a daily basis. And Kohli was showing that he was as adept as anyone in curbing his natural game, if only in periods.