Taylor leads Kiwi fight back

August 31st, 2012 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Ross Taylor Bangalore, Aug 31 (IANS) Skipper Ross Taylor backed his brave words with a solid century (113) to lead a New Zealand fight back as the visitors ended a truncated first day of their second cricket Test against India at 328 for six here Friday.

Taylor’s 127-ball knock (16×4, 2×6) lifted the Black Caps, who batted first after winning the toss, from a precarious position while opener Martin Guptill (53) and South Africa-born Kruger van Wyk (63 batting) further boosted the total as the stumps were drawn due to bad light with 8.3 overs still left.

The second day’s play will commence 30 minutes earlier at 9 a.m. to make up for the time lost Friday.

India, leading the two-Test series 1-0 following their win in Hyderabad, looked to be on top after reducing the Kiwis to 89 for three in the pre-lunch session, but it was a toil thereafter as their bowling appeared rather thin and ragged at times as the Kiwi middle-order batted well.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who opened the bowling, showed a big heart for punishment to pick up four wickets while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and seamer Zaheer Khan took one apiece. The fourth bowler, Umesh Yadav was rather erratic and leaked 71 runs in his 12.3 overs.

The pitch held no terrors despite some moisture in view of recent wet weather and absence of sunlight. Much of the day’s play was under floodlights and in overcast conditions.

India threatened to breach the Kiwi line-up in the first session when they picked up three wickets, including that of Guptill whose half-century saved the hosts from a collapse.

Opener Brendon McCullum was the first to go, trapped in front by Zaheer who brought one back into the batsman. Thereafter, Kane Williamson (17) and Guptill, dropped on 17 by Virat Kohli at third slip, steadied the ship with a 63-run stand before the former was dismissed, leg-before to Ojha.

Guptill did not last long thereafter, as he flicked Ojha to midwicket where Gautam Gambhir latched on to a good catch and the Kiwis slipped to 89 for three.

The stage was set for Taylor to lead his team out of the woods and he did it in style, opting to attack and the approach paid off. The skipper was in full flow after lunch when he opened his shoulders to play a series of sparkling shots as he got the measure of the Indian bowlers.

With Daniel Flynn (33) holding one end up, Taylor unleashed a barrage of shots as he waded into the Indian spinners. Ojha went for 16 runs in an over that also brought up Taylor’s half-century while Ashwin looked rather ineffective.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni rung quick changes in a bid to stop the flow of runs, but Taylor was unstoppable. He used the sweep to good effect and plundered runs at will and the Indian bowlers seemed to flag.

After the fourth-wicket pair raised the century-partnership in quick time, Flynn played across to Ashwin, missed the sweep and was trapped in front to give the off-spinner, the hero of India’s triumph in the first Test at Hyderabad earlier this month, his first wicket of the match.

Taylor, however, continued his merry ways and soon got to his century off just 99 balls as the Kiwis enjoyed a fruitful session when they added as many as 132 runs.

However, Taylor fell soon after tea, attempting and missing his more productive stroke, the sweep, to be out leg before to Ojha who was in the midst of his fifth spell that read 9-6-23-2.

If the Indians were looking to wrap up the Kiwi tail, then little van Wyk dashed such hopes with a bold approach, unafraid to chance his arm and favouring the leg-side to help himself to useful runs while John Bracewell lent him good support.

The pair added 82 runs for the unfinished seventh wicket when the proceedings came to an abrupt end due to bad light immediately after India took the second new ball. Soon after the players returned to the dressing room, sharp showers effectively ended the day’s proceedings.

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