Unbeaten half-centuries from Kane Williamson and Tom Latham put New Zealand in a commanding position on day 2 of the first Test in Kanpur. After bowling out India for 318, New Zealand were cruising comfortably at 152/1 before rain washed out the third session of play on Friday.
Brief Scores: India 318 all out in 97 overs (Vijay 65(170), Pujara 62(109); Santner 3/94, Boult 3/67) New Zealand 152/1 in 47 overs (Williamson 65*(115), Latham 56*(137); Yadav 1/22)
Resuming from their overnight score of 291/9, the last wicket added 27 more runs to the score before Neil Wagner dismissed Umesh Yadav with a short delivery. Indian bowlers got off to a good start as Martin Guptill was sent back to the pavilion with just 35 runs on the board. However, Tom Latham and Kane Williamson produced a 100-run partnership to take the visitors to a comfortable position before rain washed out the third session of play.
Umesh Yadav provides early breakthrough
Virat Kohli did not take much time to introduce spin into the match as he handed over the ball to Ravindra Jadeja in the 3rd over of the New Zealand innings. That started a great battle between the left-arm spinner and Martin Guptill. The Kiwi batsman hit the spinner for a couple of stunning boundaries, but he was also kept on his toes by some close calls.
Eventually, it was Umesh Yadav who provided India with the first wicket in the 10th over when he trapped Guptill in front of the stumps with an inswinging delivery. The ball thudded onto Guptill's pad after going past his defence, and the Kiwi batsman nearly fell over. The umpire had no hesitation in putting up his finger, and New Zealand were down to 35/1.
Latham and Williamson put New Zealand on top
Tom Latham and Kane Williamson did what Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara did for India in the first innings. The duo had to face a lot of spin from Jadeja and Ashwin, but they kept their nerves and took New Zealand to lunch at 71/1. Both the batting duo used a lot of sweep shots against the two spinners and kept them at bay with impeccable technique. Kohli even used Vijay for an over to break the partnership, but it did not work. Both Williamson and Latham did survive a couple of close appeals for LBW and close-in catch respectively, but they held on.
Latham and Williamson completed their half-centuries in quick succession and took New Zealand past the score of 150. However, rain interrupted play just before the tea break and play had to be called off. The match is set to resume at 9:15 am tomorrow and a target of 98 overs have been set in order to make up for the time lost. New Zealand might be in command at the moment, but India will take heart from the fact that they were in a similar situation yesterday before the middle order capitulated.