Review - IND vs NZ - 1st Test - Day 1.

There was no better occasion than India playing it's 500th test match to kick-start the prolonged season which will comprise of 13 test matches. As a matter of regard, many former test captains were present at the Green Park in Kanpur.
Virat Kohli, the current captain of India, won the toss and elected to bat. India went in with the orthodox six batsmen + one wicket-keeper + four bowlers strategy which removed the uncertainty over the inclusion of Rohit Sharma in the playing eleven. With India opting for Murli Vijay and Lokesh Rahul as specialist openers, Shikhar Dhawan had to sit out. In the bowling division, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Amit Mishra were unexpectedly denied a place in the first eleven.
On the other hand, New Zealand played a master card by bringing in Luke Ronchi in place of Henry Nicholls. The inclusion of three spinners was expected in the squad.
Both Rahul and Vijay started on a positive note for India against Trent Boult and Neil Wagner (who was opening the bowling for the first time in India). At the end of 10 overs, India had scored 35 runs without the loss of any wicket. Bowling his second over, Mitchell Santner drew the first blood in the form of Rahul. The Indian opener edged a delivery from the left-arm orthodox bowler to the keeper BJ Watling, when he was on 32. Cheteshwar Pujara came out at No. 3 on the back of two centuries in three innings in the Duleep Trophy.


Trent Boult cleaned the tail with the second new ball.
The first right-arm bowler of the day was introduced in the form of Mark Craig in the 14th over. But the solidity of Vijay and Pujara did not allow the visitors to make any more inroads before lunch. India were 100-1 in 31 overs at the lunch break. Vijay and Pujara were not out on 39 and 34 respectively.
Trent Boult started the proceedings after lunch. He was joined by Ish Sodhi from the other end. In the 40th over, Vijay completed his first half-century versus New Zealand. In the next over, his partner also reached the same feat. India reached the 150-run mark in the 48th over mainly due to some circumspect batting by Vijay and Pujara.
But a soft caught and bowled dismissal in the next over got the better of Pujara. He went back for a well-compiled 62. Santner bagged his second wicket. In came Virat Kohli to a loud cheer from the crowd. The skipper scored two boundaries and displayed signs of positivity but Neil Wagner's well-executed bouncer forced him to play the pull shot which went straight into the hands of Sodhi. He could only manage nine runs and was replaced by his deputy, Ajinkya Rahane.
The New Zealanders by now had started to make impressions. The bowlers stepped up the heat after the dual breakthrough. In the last over before tea, Vijay too walked back to the pavilion on 65. He tried to cut a Sodhi-delivery but edged it to Watling, who took another sharp chance behind the stumps. India was 185-4 in 59 overs at tea.
Rohit Sharma started with his natural attacking game and moved to 18 (20). Mark Craig's tenacity fetched him his first wicket, that too of Rahane on 18 in the 64th over. India had somehow failed to cash in on the authoritative start. Ravichandran Ashwin was the next batsman in. He, together with Rohit settled the faltering Indian innings. They were involved in a 52-run partnership which could have been more had Rohit Sharma not lifted a Santner delivery straight to Sodhi at long-on. Wriddhiman Saha came in but perished on the second ball he faced against Trent Boult, who was bowling with the second new ball. India was again left wandering at 263-7 in 84 overs. To add to their woes, Boult removed Ashwin on 40 in his next over and Mohammad Shami on zero in his next to next over. Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav somehow managed to hold their nerves in the last two overs. India finished the day on 291-9 in 90 overs.
A total close to 300-330 was considered as a healthy one at the start of the day. India will look to chip in as many runs as possible tomorrow morning. Jadeja and Yadav would be sent in with special instructions of crossing 300 to gain the mental advantage.

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