Ahead of the Test, the BCCI had posted a picture of the Hagley Oval pitch on its Twitter handle. The veiled dig was evident. After New Zealand won the toss on what India perceived to be a green-top, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal made a very positive start for the visitors. Shaw played some fabulous shots and reached his half-century. India actually won the first session but as it turned out, they flattered to deceive.
Poor shot selection became their bugbear. Shaw, after reaching his half-century, chased a wide one from Kyle Jamieson. Ajinkya Rahane, after spending over half-an-hour at the crease, played away from his body to a delivery from Tim Southee that pitched outside the off stump and was going away.
Hanuma Vihari made the most of a dropped chance early into his innings. But after helping India fight back through an 81-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara, he threw away his wicket on the stroke of tea, trying to pull a Neil Wagner bouncer. Even Pujara, who looked the most accomplished batsman out there in the middle, attempted an uncharacteristic hook and fell prey to the top edge.
Then, there was the talented Rishabh Pant, whose 14-ball knock had two dropped chances before he dragged one from Jamieson onto the stumps, reaching for the ball and displaying technical shortcomings. India’s batting collapse on Day One at Christchurch didn’t have much to do with a greenish pitch. All those shots could have been avoided.
As far as Virat Kohli was concerned, the Kiwis have been bowling to a plan to him and getting success. Southee set him up with a few outswingers before bringing one back. Kohli probably would have had an inside edge if he tried to block it. The India captain opted for an attacking shot instead. His decision to review a stonewall LBW beggared belief. Kohli at the moment is not on top of his game.
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