India had a forgettable first session on Day 2 of the Wellington Test during which Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson bowled them out for 165. As the two pacers combined to pick eight wickets, Ross Taylor and captain Kane Williamson forged a partnership that allowed New Zealand to nose ahead, but India struck back in the final session, claiming three wickets – of Williamson, Taylor and Henry Nicholls to slowly crawl back into the Test. Also Read - ICC World Test Championship Final: Indian Team May Leave Early Due to UK Travel Restrictions
Ishant Sharma, who had sent back both openers, before tea, accounted for the wicket of Taylor, his figures reading 3/31 at stumps. Williamson, the New Zealand skipper registered his 32nd Test half-century 10 minutes into the final session with a cracking boundary off R Ashwin. In the first hour after tea, Williamson and Taylor combined to score seven boundaries to put New Zealand into the lead. Also Read - ICC Test Rankings - Virat Kohli Retains Fifth Place, Rishabh Pant Breaks Into Top 10
With the partnership reaching 93, Ishant provided a breakthrough for India the third time. Extra bounce caught Taylor off-guard and the ball ballooned towards square leg where Cheteshwar Pujara accepted an easy catch. With Taylor departing and Ashwin and Ishant bowled tidily, New Zealand’s scoring rate dipped. It didn’t take long for India to cash in and get the wicket they badly wanted. Mohammed Shami bowled a half-volley and Williamson drove straight to substitute Ravindra Jadeja at covers. Also Read - IPL 2021, SRH vs MI Match Prediction, Head to Head, Weather Forecast: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians Pitch Report, Predicted Playing 11s, Toss Timing From Arun Jaitley Stadium
With a four off Shami, Nicholls brought up New Zealand’s 200 but he could only score 17 before a relentless Ashwin was rewarded for some fine bowling, Nicholls came forwarded and offered a tiny edge to Virat Kohli at slip. After conceding a first-innings lead, India were right back in the game before bad light stopped play.
From starting the day at 122/5, India were bundled out for 165 in the first session, losing their last five wickets for mere 43 runs. Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant – the two overnight batsmen and fairly set in the middle started well, with the wicketkeeper batsman hoisting left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel for a six for the first scoring shot of the day.
But an ugly mix-up between the two – leading to Pant’s wicket – opened the floodgates for NZ. Rahane guided a Southee delivery towards point and took off, but Pant was hesitant at first and then took off but could not beat Patel’s clumsy direct hit. Off the next ball, Southee had Ashwin castled with a full delivery swinging away.
Rahane fought hard for his 46 off 138 balls, but got out to an innocuous delivery from Southee while trying to leave the ball and was caught behind. Ishant’s 23-ball vigil for his five runs came to an end at the hands of debutant Jamieson, who finished with 4/39. Shami chanced his arms around for a 20-ball 21, but fell to Southee – who returned 4/49 – to signal the end of India’s first innings.
In reply, Tom Latham and Tom Blundell had to negotiate 20 minutes of the morning session and both took lunch unscathed taking NZ to 17/0. Blundell took 18 deliveries to get off the mark but survived the tough phase while Latham scored 11 runs in the session. Latham failed to add to his 11 runs from the first session to be out caught behind. His dismissal resulted in a nervy phase for the hosts with Williamson edging one while Blundell surviving with the ball landing between three fielders after chipping one from Shami.
But Blundell and Williamson recovered and added 47 runs for the second wicket. Then Ishant produced a peach of a delivery, late swing outfoxing Blundell with the ball crashing on the stumps. He scored 30. In walked Taylor amidst a standing ovation and with his captain, kept the scoreboard ticking to usher New Zealand in the lead.