Bookended by bursts when India lost wickets in a heap, Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari steadied India a 195-run stand, with the latter crunching a fluent hundred and the former scoring a precious 93.
The conditions weren’t the easiest—not only did the red-ball swing around and later seamed, but it also bounced awkwardly—though batting became considerably easier as the day progressed. At stumps, India were all out for 263.
Here’s a lowdown on how the batsmen who didn’t get going on the first day of the three-day tour game.
Prithvi Shaw (0): The Mumbai batsman began shakily, but then got a beast of a snorter. A short ball that climbed and followed him, that it caught him hopping. Scott Kuggeleijn’s delivery was suffocating that could neither sway nor duck away from it. The previous delivery was also similar, but it was not as well-directed that he could move away from it. A bit unfortunate in that he got the most devilish delivery of the day just four balls into his knock.
Mayank Agarwal (1): Maybe watching Shaw’s dismissal from the other end, Agarwal was unusually tetchy. The fiendish short-ball playing in his mind, he was mostly on the back-foot and defending away from the body. Kuggeleijn, then, bowled one back of length on fifth stump and Agarwal could not but poke at it. The ball also bounced more than he had anticipated.
Shubman Gill (0): The day before the warm-up match, he had spoken about the bounce the pitches in New Zealand could offer. But he could do nothing to keep off a ball that bounced more he had expected. Probably, he could have left the ball on its course, but in his eagerness to feel the bat on ball, he fatally stabbed at an away-ducker that was leaving him. The fraction of extra bounce too was a culprit.
Ajinkya Rahane (18): During his 33-ball knock, he looked fairly composed. He began tentatively, there was an edged boundary through slips, but the more deliveries he faced, the more confident he grew. But then a delivery that seamed marginally away from him consumed him. He was sucked into the drive, which he attempted away from the body. A classical dismissal for a batsman from the subcontinent in these climes for the first time.
Rishabh Pant (7): Maybe lulled into a false sense of security seeing the way Pujara and Vihari, he was on attack mode straightaway, striking the third ball for a boundary. He eyes might have lit up seeing Ish Sodhi, but in trying to unleash the heavy artillery on him before getting set, he languished, fooled by the googly. He was batting as if India were trying to declare.
Ravichandran Ashwin (0): The off-spinner, whose batting form has diminished in the last few months, was fuming when the umpired adjudged him leg before the wicket. It was Sodhi’s conventional leg-break, which doesn’t turn much, that wrapped him on the pads after he played down the wrong line. But Ashwin thought the ball had struck him too high and gestured to the umpire that it had struck his upper thigh, and not even on the flap of the pads. That he was far too back in the crease might have worked against him.
Wriddhiman Saha (0): The rustiness of a lengthy lay-off showed. The judgement was off-kilter, the footwork was awry and his bat was merely groping the air. Though there was not much movement, seam or swing, he seemed to bat with utter distrust of the pitch as well as the nature of the wicket. Often, he weathers the early storm and sticks around. But here he didn’t show any sort of application, looking every inch a rusty man coming from a lengthy lay-off.
Ravindra Jadeja (8): Among the lower-order, he looked the most assured batsman, whether in defending or attacking. But with the wickets falling around him, he tried to accelerate, and in the process, lost his wicket. But otherwise, he looked in gorgeous touch.
Umesh Yadav (9): A typical Yadav knock, a slog there, a heave there, throwing caution to the wind as he normally does.
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