Kyle Jamieson took his maiden five-wicket haul as he ran through the Indian batting to bowl them out for 242 in Christchurch. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari had stitched a 81-run stand for the fourth wicket and both batsmen had gone past fifties. New Zealand had something to smile when Vihari fell for 55 in the last over before tea bowled by Neil Wagner. However, in the second over of the final session, Cheteshwar Pujara played a shot which could as best be described as a 'brainfade'. Pujara top-edged a short ball from Kyle Jamieson, a shot which was so uncharacteristic of him and he fell for 54. India lost their remaining wickets in a flurry as Jamieson bounced and seamed the Indian tail to finish with 5/45, his maiden five-wicket haul as Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team were bowled out for 242. In response, Tom Latham and Tom Blundel negotiated the Indian bowlers to end on 63/0 at stumps on day 1 at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Saturday.
The tone of action on the day summed up India's approach. They were greeted with a green wicket but the ball hardly did anything eye-popping to trouble them. The application was muddled, with most batsmen caught between defence and attack. Most of the batsmen threw their wickets away and none could go on to get the big score. The start of play was delayed by an hour due to rain and when the covers came off, the pitch was emerald green and bowling first was the obvious choice.
Kane Williamson inserted India in. New Zealand welcomed back Neil Wagner while Ishant Sharma failed his fitness Test and was left out. Umesh Yadav came in his place and Ravindra Jadeja replaced Ravichandran Ashwin. New Zealand immediately got the wicket of Mayank Agarwal for 7 when Trent Boult trapped him in front and even the review did not save him. Prithvi Shaw, who was under a fitness cloud, decided that attack was the best form of aggression. The Mumbai batsman targeted Southee by carting him for two fours, one a punched drive to deep extra cover and the other a straight drive to long on. New Zealand wasted a review on Pujara as the batsman offered no shot and the ball was going over the stumps.
Cheteshwar Pujara threw his wicket away after he reached fifty in Christchurch. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Shaw reached his second fifty in style by hammering a short ball from Neil Wagner over the fence for a six but Kyle Jamieson, who had impressed in Wellington struck a big blow. Jamieson floated a full ball outside off and Shaw went for the drive, the edge flew over second slip where Tom Latham leapt and plucked a stunning one-handed catch.
New Zealand started the session brilliantly when Tim Southee dismissed Virat Kohli with a delivery that angled in and trapped the Indian skipper plumb in front. Inexplicably, Kohli chose to review and replays consigned India to lose their second review. Southee, though, entered an elite list as he became the first bowler to dismiss Kohli 10 times combined across all formats. Pujara steadied the ship with two boundaries off Boult but Ajinkya Rahane was undone by some late away swing from Southee as he edged it to the slip cordon to fall for 7.
Hanuma Vihari benefited from a dropped catch by Watling off Jamieson and he made them pay. Pujara notched up his 25th fifty and he countered the short-ball barrage from Neil Wagner well. Vihari looked in great touch and he stroked boundaries on a consistent basis, including three in one over off Boult. Vihari raced to his fifty and he looked in great touch with two more boundaries off Wagner before he gloved yet another short ball to the keeper to fall just on the stroke of tea.
The wicket of Vihari opened the floodgates for New Zealand as India lost six wickets for 48 runs. Pujara's brainfade moment took place and Jamieson proceeded to send back Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja in quick succession. When he dismissed Umesh Yadav, Jamieson had taken his five-wicket haul and this received massive cheers from the crowd at Hagley Oval, including his father who was there in attendance. Mohammed Shami had some fun with a couple of boundaries and he launched Boult for two sixes before the bowler came back and flattened his off stump to bowl India out for 242.
In response, Tom Latham and Tom Blundell negotiated the tricky final hour of the session by negotiating the swing well and finding the boundary at ease. Unlike New Zealand, the Indian pacers struggled to maintain the consistent line and length and gave away too many boundaries. At 63/0 and trailing by just 179 runs, it would seem Kohli and his team face an uphill task to save this Test match and it will need a spirited, almost monumental effort from the bowlers and the batsmen in the second innings to initiate a turnaround.