Published: Wed, September 28, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Santner at heart of Black Caps fightback

Ajinkya Rahane (18) became Mark Craig's 49th Test victim shortly after tea, the off spinner tossed one up at an awkward length and had India's vice-captain caught at short leg.

Opener Murali Vijay admitted that Indian batsmen were guilty of playing loose shots to let go the advantage in the first Test against New Zealand here but asserted that the hosts have put up a good total to make a game out of it.

In-form Rahul, looked fluent during his 32 off 39 balls, before he was caught behind off a faster delivery from left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner delivery.

New Zealand's wicketkeepr Tom Latham and Martin Guptill appeal for Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma's wicket during the first day of 1st Test match at Green Park in Kanpur on Thursday.

Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who accounted for opener Lokesh Rahul before lunch, broke the risky stand by snaring Pujara caught and bowled for 62.

Vijay was the third wicket to fall in the session when, in the last over before tea, he was caught behind off Sodhi as the ball held its line after pitching. He picked three wickets by conceding just 57 runs. The wicket is on the slower side and it is hard to score runs.

Somewhat vindicating KL Rahul's selection over Dhawan, was well backed up by Pujara and Vijay, with both getting to their fifties.

New Zealand found a place in their XI for Luke Ronchi, who made a century in their three-day warm-up match against Mumbai. Vijay top-scored for India with 65 and Pujara was the other batsman to reach a fifty. But India's plans got thwarted by their own batsmen, as a lot of them had soft dismissals and at the end of the day, India stood at the risk of being bowled out under 300, which could be embarrassing for the home team. But I guess there were a couple of key moments but we stuck to our plans reasonably be in not a bad position.

Indian batsmen played some irresponsible shots as they gifted their wickets away.

More importantly, perhaps, it may also be time to not only reassess the past but also look ahead when Test cricket being in a survival crisis, needs teams like India to do better in competitive environment than their poor past record indicates.

Even Neil Wagner chipped in with the prize wicket of Indian skipper Virat Kohli, allowing New Zealand to stride from the field with plenty of smiles and a brilliant days work behind them. The wicket of Kohli was a big wicket but down to (Ravindra) Jadeja at nine they have got a very good batting line-up. First things first, it's to get the last wicket early tomorrow and then once we bat, build partnerships and go from there.

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