Shreyas Iyer played a 65-run hand in India’s second innings, taking the lead past 200 against New Zealand at Kanpur on Sunday. The Mumbai batsman’s half-century followed his 105-run knock in the first innings, making him the first Indian to score a ton and fifty on Test debut.
India started Day 4 at 14/1 – with Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal at the crease. However, Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee delivered key blows in the first session, leaving Ajinkya Rahane and company reeling at 51/5. Shreyas Iyer then stitched a 53-run stand with Ravichandran Ashwin (32) to take India’s overall lead past the 150-run mark.
After the off-spinner was dismissed, Iyer and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha accumulated 64 runs before the latter was dismissed trying to pull a short ball from Southee. He hit eight boundaries and a six during his stay at the crease. Earlier, Shreyas Iyer had become the 16th Indian batsman to score a century on Test debut.
Wriddhiman Saha continued to play sensibly alongside Axar Patel as India’s lead crossed 250 runs.
While the pitch is still not an unplayable one, India’s spinners might be able to defend anything above 180, as it is expected that a lot of balls will keep low even if there won’t be much turn on offer.
However, on the fourth morning, Southee, a practitioner of conventional swing bowling, took a master-class on how to bowl on an unresponsive Indian track, classically setting up the batters.
But before Southee got into the act, Kyle Jamieson (13-6-26-3) targeted Pujara’s (22 off 33 balls) ribcage, getting one to rear up on this dead track and it brushed the India No. 3’s gloves into the hands of keeper Tom Blundell.
For Ravindra Jadeja (0), Southee used the width of the crease with an angular delivery that wrapped him on the pads.