Well, we definitely have a Test match on our hands!
A wonderful second day contest between bat and ball saw India claw themselves to a measure of comfort, thanks largely to an assured 93 from Virat Kohli, on the second day of the second Test against New Zealand.
India's Virat Kohli in action during his unbeaten 93 against New Zealand on the second day of the second Test in Bangalore
Kohli is no stranger to the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, playing for the IPL side Royal Challengers. But T20 cricket and Test cricket are two completely different ball games; however, Kohli made everything look extremely easy and simple. Barely putting a foot wrong, the Delhiite, along with Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, took India to 283 for five, when the hosts were at one stage dangling precariously at 80 for four. At the end of the day's play, Kohli was at the crease on 93, with Dhoni giving him company on 46 in an unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 104.
Test cricket is the best format of the sport to watch, because it is the only format, which allows an equal contest between bat and ball. New Zealand, after they were bowled out for 365 in their first innings, made use of the early morning conditions, putting India on the back foot with a couple of quick wickets, but Kohli and Raina brought their side back, with the former, in particular, making the No 5 spot his own.
Dhoni came to bat, with a lot of work still left to do, and the India skipper after, initially taking it to the spinner Jeetan Patel, smashing a couple of massive sixes in typical Dhoni style, dug himself in and held firm till the end of the day's play.
However, the second day was all about Kohli and his ability to build an innings, wait patiently for the bad balls, while picking up the ones and twos at will. If the duo can stay on for a session or more tomorrow, India will be confident of forcing a positive result.
At the beginning of the innings, India got themselves in a spot of bother, losing their first four wickets for 80 runs. Gautam Gambhir's poor run in Tests continued; a bad piece of judgement costing him his wicket and India's first in the fourth over. Gambhir, who had earlier been dropped at third slip by Brendon McCullum, shouldered arms to a Tim Southee delivery that straightened just a touch and clipped the top of off stump.
Cheteshwar Pujara could not replicate his wonderful hundred in Hyderabad, lifting a hook shot to fine leg, with Southee again picking up the wicket.
Virender Sehwag, meanwhile, after a quiet start was going up the gears, with shots on the offside coming in droves. India went into the lunch break on 63 for two, with Sehwag looking good and Sachin Tendulkar slowly starting to get his eye in.
However, the Kiwis notched a double strike, courtesy Doug Bracewell, soon after lunch; Sehwag, getting out for 43, after lazily flicking a ball to midwicket, which was nicely caught by Daniel Flynn, before Bracewell found a way through Tendulkar's (17) defences with India's score on 80; the great man bowled for the second-straight innings.
The inexperienced pair of Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli were given the task of repairing the Indian innings, which looked in desperate trouble, and the two youngsters did their jobs admirably. Raina played the role of the aggressor. Taking the bulk of the strike, the left-hander brought his cover drives and pull shots to good effect, a lofted six over extra cover particularly getting the large weekend crowd excited.
Kohli, on the other end, was every bit the assured and secure batsman that everyone has come to know by now, never looking threatened by the bowling and rotating the strike nicely. Raina and Kohli's 99-run stand coming to an end after the left-hander fell soon after tea for 55.
At the beginning of the day, India did what they should have really done after dismissing Ross Taylor on the first day, which is quickly finish off the tail, bowling out the Kiwis for 365, after the visitors had started the day on 328 for six. Wicketkeeper-batsman Kruger Van Wyk was the first to go in the morning, edging one to Raina, who took a nice diving catch, off Zaheer Khan's bowling. Van Wyk made 71 valuable runs for his side, with the seventh wicket partnership falling one run short of 100 runs.
Bracewell then was unlucky to see his innings come to an end, for a well-played 43, running himself out while backing up, after Zaheer Khan directed Tim Southee's drive onto the stumps.
Patel lasted only two balls, being caught out at third man while trying to steer Umesh Yadav for a boundary, with Southee the last man out, lbw to Pragyan Ojha, who finished with five for 99.
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