Tons For McCullum & Williamson
New Zealand 329-4 v India
First Test, Auckland, day one
New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling (wicket-keeper), Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi
India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain & wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma
Riding on counter-attacking hundreds from skipper Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson, New Zealand finished day one of the first Test against India in Auckland on 329 for four.
The two batsmen were involved in a 221-run partnership for the fourth wicket, snatching the momentum from the visitors after being reduced to 30 for three in the first hour of the morning
At stumps, McCullum was unbeaten on 143 (210 balls, 18 fours, two sixes), while Williamson (113 runs, 172 balls, 10 fours, two sixes) had been dismissed just before the final 45 minutes of the day’s play.
The Indian bowlers attacked in a bid to take wickets, but gave away runs easily considering the short boundaries. Ishant Sharma (2-62) was the pick of the bowlers on the day, picking up his 150th wicket in 54 Tests.
Zaheer Khan (2-98) pitched in with two wickets, while Mohammad Shami (0-66) was unlucky to finish empty handed despite bowling good spells throughout. Ravindra Jadeja (0-81) proved ineffective on the hard and bouncy pitch, while Rohit Sharma (0-12) and Virat Kohli (0-4) turned their arms over as well.
Starting their 149-run partnership after tea, Williamson and McCullum went about continuing their dominance of the Indian bowling. They did so by bringing up their respective hundreds, with the captain first to get to that mark.
In the 58th over, he hit Jadeja down the ground for his first six, celebrating his eighth Test hundred in style. He got there in 135 balls, also hitting 16 fours in the process. Two overs later, Williamson first brought up their 200-run partnership for the fourth wicket and then his own hundred – a fifth ton in Test cricket – off 138 balls, with 10 fours and two sixes.
Scoring quickly was the hallmark of their batting through the two sessions, after India’s good start, thus pushing the opposition back. And they continued unabated until the 69th over, when finally Zaheer got Williamson to glance one down leg and edge it to the keeper, ending his long-haul partnership with the skipper.
McCullum was undeterred though, giving only half a chance when he was on 102, as Shikhar Dhawan failed to judge a looping catch at short fine-leg. Afterwards, he put up 50 runs with new batsman Corey Anderson quickly, with the score also hopping across the 300-mark in the 82nd over.
India taking the new ball had no effect whatsoever as 150 run came in the final session of play. The two batsmen remained unbeaten at the end, putting on 78 runs for the fifth wicket as Anderson was batting on 42 (78 balls, five fours, one six) at stumps.
Earlier, McCullum looked to repair the damage from the morning session and rebuild the innings with Williamson. Wind carried away the cloud cover from the morning and finally the sun came out as prominent swing from the morning session vanished.
Shami managed to induce an edge from Williamson in the 29th over of the innings, five overs after the restart, only for Murali Vijay to put it down at first slip. The batsman was on 32 at that time and did not present another chance until he got out.
Their 50-run partnership between the two came in the 30th over and from thereon in, they pressed on with the scoring.
Williamson hit two sixes, the first in the 33rd over, when New Zealand were placed at 102 for three, and the second in the 38th over, reaching his fifty.
At the other end, McCullum brought up his fifty in the 43rd over, as well as their 100-run partnership. In doing so, he carried the team score past the 150-run mark as well.
In the morning session, Indian skipper MS Dhoni won his sixth straight toss on this tour, and opted to bowl first in optimum conditions. The visitors didn’t make any changes to their team that played against South Africa in Durban. Similarly, the hosts didn’t make any either to the side that played the West Indies in Hamilton.
Peter Fulton (13) and Hamish Rutherford (6) took first strike, even as Shami and Zaheer bowled at lively pace and beat the batsmen on more than a couple of occasions. In fact, the former was very lucky to survive as long as he did, continuously troubled by all Indian bowlers.
He should have gone back, first on the seventh ball of the innings, with Zaheer inducing an edge but Dhawan dove in front of second slip and spilled the chance.
Fulton was on one at that time, and 11 runs later he got another life when umpire Richard Kettleborough didn’t raise his finger on a plumb LBW decision in the ninth over bowled by Shami. He was on 12 at that time and was eventually gone for 13 runs, when Zaheer finally trapped him in the 13th over.
At the other end, Rutherford was brilliantly set up by Ishant in the 10th over, with the batsman fishing outside the off stump on more than one occasion. After four balls, the bowler finally found an edge as Ajinkya Rahane completed a diving catch at gully.
That wasn’t the end of New Zealand’s woes, with Ross Taylor (3) looking to play his shots from the very beginning, despite a difficult pitch. It didn’t pay off, as he drove Ishant on-the-up and Jadeja completed a stunning catch at short mid-off, leaving the Black Caps reeling at 30 for three.
Williamson and McCullum then saw off the 25 minutes before lunch without any further loss, with the 50-run mark of the innings coming in the penultimate over of the session bowled by Jadeja.
© Cricket World 2014