Wellington, Feb 21 (IANS) Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane held one end as India found themselves struggling on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve on Friday.
At Stumps which the umpires were forced to call early after rains washed out the entire last session, India were 122/5 with Rahane and Rishabh Pant batting on 38 and 10, respectively.
Earlier, after being put into bat in rather difficult circumstances, which included overcast conditions and a fairly green track, the visitors didn’t have a great start as they lost young opener Prithvi Shaw quite early.
Shaw, who scored a couple of boundaries, was undone by a peach of a delivery by Tim Southee, who disturbed the woodwork in the fifth over and sent back the Indian opener back in the dressing room at his individual score of 16.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who is being termed as the new ‘wall’ of Indian Test team, then tried to steady the ship with other opener Mayank Agarwal. However, after playing out 42 deliveries, Pujara became the first Test scalp of debutant Kyle Jamieson. The good length delivery bowled by the tall, right-arm pacer jagged of a length and Pujara could only manage a fine edge and was caught by keeper BJ Watling after contributing with 11.
Skipper Virat Kohli, who came in next, continued his poor run of form in the ongoing tour and was caught at first slip by Ross Taylor off the bowling of Jamieson.
Kohli scored just two runs off seven deliveries and his wicket left India reeling at 40/3.
However, Rahane then joined forces with Agarwal and made sure the visitors didn’t lose any further wicket till the end of the session. India went into Lunch at 79/3.
In the second session, Agarwal, who had weathered the first two hours with remarkable composure, couldn’t stay long and was caught at fine-leg as he top-edged a rising Trent Boult delivery off his hips after sharing a valuable 48-run partnership with Rahane.
Hanuma Vihari (7) looked shaky right from the start and became the third scalp of debutant Kyle Jamieson, who got him caught behind.
However, Pant who was drafted into the playing XI in place of Wriddhiman Saha, played with utmost composure and made sure India didn’t lose any further wickets till the end of the session.
Not a single ball could be bowled in the final session as heavy rainfall started to pour and continued for long, thus forcing the match officials to call the end of the day’s play.
Brief Scores: 122/5 (Ajinkya Rahane 38*, Mayank Agarwal 34; Kyle Jamieson 3/38)