India vs New Zealand: A rise and shine for Shreyas Iyer - A century for India No.4 after 464 days
Shreyas Iyer scored his maiden ODI hundred to power India to a 347 for 4 batting first against New Zealand in the first ODI at Hamilton on Wednesday.Updated: Feb 05, 2020 12:29 IST
Who will bat at No.4 in ODIs for India? A dozen players were tried but none was able to provide the answer until the arrival of Shreyas Iyer. After a struggle of more than three years, it looks like Shreyas Iyer has finally solved India’s No. 4 riddle with his maiden century batting at that position in the first ODI against New Zealand at Hamilton on Wednesday. Iyer scored 103 to power India to 347 for 4 after being sent in to bat first by stand-in New Zealand captain Tom Latham.
This was the first hundred by an India No.4 in an ODI in close to 16 months. The last batsman to score a hundred batting at No.4 for India was Ambati Rayudu against West Indies on October 29, 2018.
Iyer, dropped on eight, 11 and 83, scored 103 and shared in stands of 102 with captain Virat Kohli (51) and 136 with KL Rahul (88 not out) as India continued their strong limited overs form following a 5-0 sweep in the Twenty20 series.
Iyer, who took 10 deliveries to get off the mark, showed exactly why he is ideal candidate for the No.4 spot by accelerating later on and finishing with 11 fours and a six in his knock.
With Rohit Sharma ruled out of the series after suffering a calf muscle strain in final Twenty20 game on Sunday, India give ODI debuts to opening pair Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.
The pair put on 50 runs in eight overs before they fell in quick succession. It brought Kohli and Iyer together, and they dominated the middle overs with a 102-run stand for the third wicket. They manoeuvred the field well and kept the scorecard ticking as India crossed 150 in the 28th over.
Kohli fell against the run of play as a wrong one from Ish Sodhi (1/27) got through his defence to clip the leg stump.Rahul though didn’t let the innings lose any momentum as he smacked six sixes along with three fours.
But the day belonged to Iyer, who, despite a scratchy start, had crossed 50 off 66 balls. Once he passed the 50-run mark, the stylish right-hander batted fluently to notch up his first century in 16 ODIs. The centurion fell shortly afterwards, caught off Southee even as Rahul took control.
He reached his half-century off 41 balls as India eased past 300 in the 47th over.
Rahul’s carnage meant that New Zealand conceded 191 runs in the last 20 overs. Kedar Jadhav remained unbeaten on 26 off 15 balls, stitching 55 off 27 balls with Rahul.
(With agency inputs)