New Zealand openers fight back after Iyer century on Day Two

New Zealand openers fight back after Iyer century on Day Two

After a tricky opening day for the visitors, New Zealand fought back hard on Day 2 of the first Test in Kanpur. Tim Southee dragged the Kiwis back into the game with a five-wicket haul of the highest quality before the openers – Will Young (75*) and Tom Latham (50*) – remained resolute throughout the remainder of the day to put on an impressive partnership of 129.

India began the day in a strong position at 258 for four with Iyer and Jadeja at the crease, but the Men in Blue only managed to add 87 runs to their overnight tally due to the brilliance of Tim Southee. After nursing an injury of large parts on day one, Southee persevered through the morning session, bowling 11 overs on the trot on his way to his second five-fer in India and 13th in Test cricket.

Southee’s first victim of the day was Ravindra Jadeja, getting the left-hander to chop one onto his stumps before nicking off Wriddhiman Saha for 1. The Kiwi pacer also picked up the crucial wicket of Shreyas Iyer – who became the 16th Indian batter to score a century on Test debut – tempting the right-hander into a drive that ballooned straight to cover point. The Kiwi pacer completed his five-wicket haul with his trademark three-quarter seam ball that held its line and caught the edge of Axar Patel’s bat.

Ravichandran Ashwin offered some resistance with the bat, farming the strike alongside Umesh Yadav and scoring a fluent 38 before missing an overpitched delivery from Ajaz Patel that crashed onto the stumps and signalled the end of India’s innings for 345.

The excellent work from the bowlers in the morning session was expertly followed up by the Kiwi openers, who safely navigated the final two sessions with the bat to take New Zealand to stumps without losing a single wicket. Both Will Young and Tom Latham were happy to play the waiting game, absorbing the pressure on a slow pitch before pouncing on the rare loose deliveries from the Indian bowling quintet.

While Latham primarily used the sweep shot as his scoring weapon, Young was happy to use his feet and dance down the track to the spinners, and the pair put on the first-century opening partnership by the visiting team in India since Haseeb Hameed and Alastair Cook in December 2016.

Although India were unable to make any breakthrough’s across the day’s play, the spinners were incredibly disciplined throughout the innings – conceding less than two runs an over in the final session. India thought they had their man in the penultimate over of the day, only for DRS to overturn a caught behind decision off R Ashwin with Tom Latham using his third successful review of the innings.