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By Abhijit Banare
Feb 6, 2014
Kane Williamson (79 not out) and Brendon McCullum (71 not out) fought back with a solid unbeaten partnership of 149 runs to take New Zealand to 179 for three in the second session on Day One of the first Test against India at Eden Park, Auckland on Thursday.
It was a crucial session for India after the pacers dominated the first session. But the in-form Williamson and an attacking innings from skipper McCullum evened things out by not just scoring the runs but preserving the wickets as well. The duo came together when New Zealand were tottering at 30 for three. From thereon, the caution turned in to and they completed their respective half-centuries.
India would be ruing the fact that they dropped the catch of an in-form batsman, Williamson. While on 32, the New Zealand No 3 got an unplayable delivery which held its line in the corridor of uncertainty and he edged it to first slip. The ball travelled straight to Murali Vijay who grassed it. There was no looking back for Williamson after that lucky reprieve.
It was once again a typical Williamson innings playing in his own pace, crafted with elegant shots on the offs and strewn with the singles, and twos in between. With McCullum attacking from the other end, the little advantage of the seaming wicket too were undone.
The pacers did well to create opportunities. They found the edges, induced false strokes but the fielders failed to back them when it mattered the most. While Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma were among the wickets, Mohammed Shami has been the most impressive bowling consistently outside off and testing the batsmen. He was unfortunate to miss out after Williamson was dropped off his bowling.
Williamson soon got to his 11th Test half-century with a top-edge which flew behind the wicket for a six. It was also his seventh consecutive half-century. The momentum further shifted towards the Kiwis with the skipper to reaching his half-century with a boundary off Zaheer. It also brought up the 100 partnership between the two.
Persisting with pacers, Dhoni fell behind on the over-rate. As the partnership kept building, the energy of the players too dropped in the field letting the Kiwis to convert the singles in to twos. Williamson has been consistent in scoring fifties, it would be interesting to see whether he can convert it into a three-figure mark.
New Zealand 179 for 3 (Kane Williamson 79*, Brendon McCullum 71*; Ishant Sharma 2 for 39) vs India.
(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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