Pace spearhead Tim Southee brought New Zealand back in the game with a brilliant five-wicket haul on Day 2 to push India on the backfoot. Southee ran through India’s lower-middle order to restrict them to 339/8 in 109 overs at Lunch in Kanpur. All the wickets in the first session were claimed by Southee as he produced a stellar swing-bowling display on a track that was expected to assist the spinners.
For India, Shreyas Iyer slammed a sublime century on his Test debut to lead India’s fightback but he was also outsmarted by the veteran pacer. Iyer was dismissed on 105 off 171 balls as his innings was laced with 13 fours and two sixes. The 26-year-old became the 10th Indian player to score a century on Test debut in Indian soil and overall 16th Indian to the triple-figure mark in his first innings of a Test match.
Ravindra Jadeja (50) failed to add anything to his overnight score and was the first batter to return to the pavilion on Day 2. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha also failed to make an impact on his return to India’s playing and was dismissed on just 1. Axar Patel was the fifth victim of Southee as he completed his 15th fifer in Test cricket.
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Apart from Iyer, only Ravichandran Ashwin looked comfortable while batting in the middle on Day 2. The veteran all-rounder was unbeaten on 38 at Lunch alongside Umesh Yadav on 4.
None of the New Zealand spinners failed to create any impact in the game as the trio of Rachin Ravindra, Ajaz Patel and William Somerville after bowling combined 59 overs so far.
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Meanwhile, Iyer played a knock of the highest quality on his debut game as he stabilize India’s innings at a crucial juncture of the game. He made a massive impact in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli in the batting order. With the century, Iyer forced a problem for team management to choose the playing XI when Kohli returns in the second Test.
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