India vs New Zealand 2nd Test: Ishant's 6 puts India ahead on Day 1
N Ananthanarayanan, Hindustan Times
Wellington, February 14, 2014
First Published: 12:13 IST(14/2/2014)
Last Updated: 12:15 IST(14/2/2014)
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Ishant Sharma served a warning to New Zealand that their decision to roll out a green top can backfire in the second Test, capturing a career-best six for 51 in a brilliant display of fast bowling on Friday.
On a pitch that afforded plenty of movement to go with swing for the pacers, Ishant triggered a top-order collapse before striking again after lunch to dismiss the hosts for 192 after tea on the first day. The 25-year-old used his height advantage to pitch it consistently just short of good length to cash in on the life on the pitch at the Basin Reserve ground.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan then hit an unbeaten 71 to guide India to a solid 100 for two at stumps. Opener Murali Vijay (2) and Cheteshwar Pujara (19, who rasied 87 runs with Dhawan) were dismissed. Ishant, back as nightwatchman was on three. Dhawan, confident after his century in the first Test, played positively in the company of Cheteshwar Pujara.
New Zealand openers Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton got off to some kind of a start in the morning after Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept a clean record in winning the toss and asked the Kiwis to bat first. However, Ishant struck in his second and third overs to remove both the openers after coming on as first change. He also had debutant Tom Latham caught behind for an eight-ball duck.
His triple strikes before lunch and Mohammed Shami's removal of skipper Brendon McCullum (8) left New Zealand, playing without the experienced Ross Taylor, tottering at 45 for four. But they had to thank their best batsman, Kane Williamson, who top-scored with a patient 47, and lower order batting by debutant James Neesham (33) and Tim Southee (32), who both attacked anything that was loose.
India would have skittled out the Kiwis for less but for letting off Williamson, who was twice 'dismissed' off no-balls. Zaheer Khan was the culprit, just over-stepping while forcing the diminutive batsman to nick an absolute beauty. He was on 15.
In the afternoon, Ishant almost got him as his fifth victim, only for the third umpire to come into play a second time and rule it a no-ball. Williamson was eventually removed by Mohammed Shami, who was brilliantly caught by Rohit Sharma in the slips.
Shami finished with four for 70 while Zaheer Khan ended without a wicket on a pitch tailor-made for his seam bowling.
It was the second time that India were dismissing the Kiwis for a sub-200 score. India had bowled out the hosts for 105 in the second innings of the first Test in Auckland, before going on to lose by 40 runs. Ishant resumed from where he had left, having captured nine wickets in that match.
New Zealand, playing without the experienced Ross Taylor, were in serious trouble in the moring. Ishant first had left-hander Rutherford (12) caught by Vijay at slip before trapping Fulton (13) in front in his next over.