Saturday, 29 January, 2022

India sets NZ 284 to win after lower order fightback

India set New Zealand 284 runs after a lower order fightback from the Kiwi demolition of the hosts' top batters on the fourth day of the first Test in Kanpur on Sunday.

Debutant Shreyas Iyer made 65 in key partnerships with Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha, who was unbeaten on 61 runs when India declared at 234-7 after tea.

The hosts started the day in a commanding position with a 63-run lead at 14-1 -- after Axar Patel's five-for wrapped up the Black Caps innings at 296 on Saturday.

But New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee turned the tables with crucial wickets to leave India reeling at 51-5.

Iyer, who scored his maiden Test century in the first innings, helped pull India out of trouble after a 52-run partnership with Ashwin, who left the pitch after chopping a rising Jamieson delivery.

Jamieson triggered the Indian top order collapse with Cheteshwar Pujara's wicket for 22 in the 12th over of the innings.

Captain Kane Williamson's review confirmed that a rising Jamieson delivery had touched the batsman's gloves to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell behind the stumps.

India then lost stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane at 41 after he fell leg-before to left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel.

Southee returned for an inspired bowling spell and took two wickets in his maiden over.

The veteran pacer first removed opener Mayank Agarwal for 17 after he edged to Tom Latham at second slip.

One ball later, Southee took all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja leg-before for a duck to leave India 51-5.

A stubborn lower order performance on an uneven Kanpur surface saved the hosts further embarrassment as they reached 167-7 at tea.

Iyer built a 64-run partnership with Saha before falling to Southee, who took three wickets in his 22 overs for 75 runs.

Saha then played a gritty innings with Axar Patel, unbeaten on 28, to stitch an unfinished 67-run partnership before the Indian declaration.

Jamieson took three wickets in his 17 overs for 40 runs.

Patel took another but the other two Kiwi spinners -- Rachin Ravindra and William Somerville -- went wicketless.