The initial euphoria around India's 500th Test match evaporated by the end of Day 1 in Kanpur as India were left struggling at 291 for 9. Despite Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara setting up the innings, India lost wickets regularly as the batsmen struggled to counter the Kiwi spinners.
Pujara and Vijay show
KL Rahul, who has become a regular for the opener's spot after an impressive showing in the West Indies, walked out with confidence alongside Murali Vijay in the morning - Rahul started off with some impressive boundaries showcasing his impressive drives. On the other end, Vijay looked patient to see off the new ball as he patiently defended all good balls. But at 32, Rahul nicked it to keeper Watling off a quickie from Mitch Santner.
Cheteshwar Pujara walked in at No.3 on the back of impressive performances in the domestic level and looked solid from the start. The Saurasthra batsman was fluent for the most part of his innings alongside Vijay as they tackled the turn Mitch Santner, Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi were getting off the dusty surface. The pair steered India to 105 for 1 by lunch time as India looked to put a huge total on the board.
Spinners make merry
However, things went suddenly downhill from there. Pujara was the first to go – after looking set for a century, the batsman went after a quick one from Santner that was fired at his feet, but his inside out shot sent the ball straight back for an easy catch by Satner. Skipper Virat Kohli came in and fired two boundaries but fell for an attempted hook off a Wagner bouncer that found the top edge for an easy catch at backward square leg.
Wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals from here on as Sodhi joined in to remove Murali Vijay for a top score of 65 after he nicked the ball to wicketkeeper Watling. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also did not last long as India soon found themselves at 209/5 from 154/1.
Fightback and Trent Boult
Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin attempted a lower-order fightback as the duo began on a counter-attack on the Kiwi bowlers. Sharma was scoring at run-a-ball in the early parts as he scored two fours and a six in no time. But the partnership was ended by Santner as Sharma went for a lofted shot to be caught at long-on.
Trent Boult, who had gone wicketless until then, then went on a rampage as he removed Saha for a nought and came back for the next over to remove Ashwin who looked set for a half-century. Ashwin was forced to play a sharp cross-seamer from Boult which he edged into the hand of Ross Taylor. Boult once again bowled a brilliant in-swinger to rattle the stumps of Mohammad Shami in the first ball of his very next over as India had again collapsed – this time to 277/9. Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav managed to last the day's quota of overs as India look to reach 300 before putting the Kiwis in to bat tomorrow.
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