1st Test, day 4: Shreyas, Saha place India on cusp of victory vs New Zealand
- New Zealand need to score 280 runs on Day 5 to win the first Test
- Shreyas Iyer became the first Indian to score a century and fifty on Test debut
- Wriddhiman Saha was unbeaten at 61 when India declared
Shreyas Iyer became the first Indian to score a century and fifty on Test debut when he went on to play a 65-run knock against New Zealand on Day 4 of the Kanpur Test. He along-with Wriddhiman Saha put the hosts in a commanding position, setting a daunting 284-run target for Kane Williamson and company to chase in the last innings.
India were reeling at 51/5 after a disastrous morning session when Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin (32) stitched a 53-run stand, taking India's lead past 150 runs. After the latter's dismissal, Iyer, who had scored a century in the first innings, went on to join hands with Wriddhiman Saha to add 64 runs. The lead crossed 200 runs.
Shreyas Iyer finished with 65 off 125 balls and Wriddhiman Saha remained unbeaten at 61 off 126 balls.
After Iyer's dismissal, Axar Patel (28 not out) conjured another 67-run eighth-wicket stand with Saha to slowly take the match out of the Black Caps' grasp.
India declared at 234 for 7 for an overall lead of 283 and gave the Black Caps four tricky overs to face under fading light during which they managed four runs and lost opener Will Young to Ravichandran Ashwin.
With that scalp, Ashwin became the joint third highest wicket-taker in Indian cricket with Harbhajan Singh (417 wickets).
The highest ever fourth innings chase by a visiting team in India is 276 by Viv Richards' West Indies against the Dilip Vengsarkar-led India in 1987 at the Feroz Shah Kotla, which placed statistics on the home team's side.
Post stumps, Shreyas Iyer said that he has been a difficult situation several times in Ranji Trophy.
"Mindset was to play the session and play as many balls as possible. I wasn't thinking too far ahead, was just focusing on the present. (On being the first Indian to score a ton and a fifty in debut Test) Yeah, I knew about it. When I came back, one of my teammates told me about it. Yeah, many others have done it from other teams but I was told I am the first from India."
He added that the more important thing is to win the game.
"Rahul Sir had told me to bat as many balls as possible and I was determined to do that. We felt that 250 including the first innings lead would have been a good score, so we're very happy with where we are now."
"Actually, not a lot was happening with the wicket today, the ball was keeping a bit low. The talk was to get to a competitive total and I feel that it's a really good total. We have real spin power, so hopefully we can get the job done tomorrow."