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India fight back to restrict New Zealand to 78/7 at tea on Day 3 of 1st Test

Mohammed Shami celebrates the wicket of Corey Anderson © Getty Images
Mohammed Shami celebrates the wicket of Corey Anderson © Getty Images

By Abhijit Banare

Feb 8, 2014

An inspirational bowling performance by the Indians saw them claw back in the second session against New Zealand on Day Three of the first Test at Auckland. The Kiwis crawled to 78 losing seven wickets with an overall lead of 379  runs.

Despite conceding a 301-run lead, India had gone in to lunch with high energy after snaring four quick wickets for just 15 runs. The most impressive of the pacers, Mohammed Shami resumed post lunch and bowled a probing line to Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson. The runs were hard to come by but the duo hung on. Shami looked like picking a wicket any time and he eventually got through the defense of left-hander Anderson for two.

It was a completely different Indian side in the second session. The fielders were agile and diving all around and the bowlers didn’t give any freebies. At 35 for five, there was a good chance for India to skittle out the Kiwis for a two-digit total. And more significantly, chase a less than 400 target. But Taylor hung on to his wicket and started scoring at ease.

He survived some close calls before hitting some crisp shots and did the bulk of the scoring. On the other end, wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling stuck without contributing much to the total. Though the Kiwis hadn’t put up anything worthwhile, their lead was inching closer to 400. Taylor was doing the bulk of scoring. Just when it looked the two could build a partnership, Zaheer Khan struck with the key wicket of Taylor who was caught brilliantly by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips for 41. Tim Southee walked in replacing Taylor and tried to hit some big ones and he succeeded on one occasion hitting a six.

In the last over before lunch, Ravindra Jadeja got some vicious turn and more significantly got the wicket of  Southee who was threatening to break free. Barring Taylor’s 41 there was not much resistance from the batsmen. India, in all probability will be hungry to bowl out New Zealand and start their chase later in the last session.

While Shami was exceptional with his line and length, Ishant too bowled according to a plan sending down seven overs for 17. Skipper MS Dhoni must be hoping that his bowlers could have reduced a lot of damage if they had put up this performance in the first innings.

It has been a change of fortunes for the Indian pacers, but whether the batsmen will be able to reflect the same inspiration in their performance will be the key to their fortunes in this match.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 503 (Kane Williamson 113, Brendon McCullum 224, Corey Anderson 77; Ishant Sharma 6 for 134, Zaheer Khan 2 for 132) & 78 for 6 (Ross Taylor 41; Mohammed Shami 3 for 33, Zaheer Khan 2 for 23) lead India 202 (Murali Vijay 26, Rohit Sharma 72; Trent Boult 3 for 38, Tim Southee 3 for 38, Neil Wagner 4 for 64) by 379 runs.

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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

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