India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 2 Results: Another Wicket Train for Indian Batsmen as Kiwis Take Complete Charge
By Deepak Vikraman | February 7, 2014 4:31 PM EST
India have certainly been consistent on the New Zealand tour so far, with the pattern of play pretty much the same right through the ODI series and onto the Test matches.
MS Dhoni wins the toss, chooses to bowl first, sees his bowlers get smashed around for quite a few, and then has to watch from the dressing room as the India top order collapsed like a house of cards, leaving the lower middle order to fight their way out of trouble.
The first two days of the first Test in Auckland has been pretty simple really, with New Zealand, apart from the first session of play on Day One, dominating in every department and putting India to the sword.
After posting a formidable 503 in their first innings, thanks to a sparkling double hundred from skipper Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand pace bowlers ran through the Indian top four as easy as an apple pie, leaving the away side on a precarious 130 for four in 39 overs, trailing by 373 runs.
The most important aspect when up against a big first innings total is a good start from the openers - remain compact, see out the new ball and make sure the pressure does not fall upon the rest of the batsmen too much.
Unfortunately for India, at the top they currently have a left-hander who seems to not really know how to score runs in away conditions. The moustaches flopping down, and that smile not to be seen too often anymore, Shikhar Dhawan failed with the bat yet again, falling in just the second legal delivery of the innings.
The left-hander, elegant when he is at his best, looked uglier than a tail-ender just learning to hold the bat, when looking to tuck one to the leg side off a short delivery from Trent Boult that just deviated a little, and with it taking the leading edge to Kane Williamson at gully.
India were 1/1 at that stage, and it was 3/2 in the final ball of the over, as India's new-age Wall, forgot about the art of leaving the ball, poking at one well outside off stump and gifting an edge to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
Three for two is not a great position to be in when you are facing a daunting deficit of over 500 runs, but Indian fans would have been thinking at that point, "at least we still have Virat Kohli at the crease," and if anyone can pull the team out of these seriously troubled waters, it will be him.
But it was not to be, though, as Kohli, after facing 12 deliveries, got a snorter of a short delivery from Tim Southee, which took a nick of the batsman's glove before falling into the hands of Peter Fulton in the slips.
Ten for three the score read after that wicket, and India would have been fearing the worst, especially with the I'm-not-feeling-great-about-my-batting-at-the-moment Rohit Sharma at the crease.
However, the elegant right-hander looked composed and determined right from the off, and with Murali Vijay at his battling best, there were some hopes harboured.
Neil Wagner, though, decided to get in on the act after the two batsmen had put on 41 runs in 14 overs, with the Kiwi pacer finding that perfect delivery which tails in and then moves just a tad away to hit the top of off-stump.
Rohit (67 n.o., 102b, 8x4, 1x6) kept bringing that wonderful shots of his out of the locker, showing just how true the pitch was actually playing, with Ajinkya Rahane (23 n.o., 56b, 2x4) staying put at the other end, before bad light brought an early end to the day's play.
Earlier, McCullum (224, 307b, 29x4, 5x6), starting the day on 143, romped to his double hundred in some style, carving the India bowlers all across the park, with Anderson (77, 109b, 13x4, 1x6), also getting in on the act initially before falling 23 runs short of a hundred.
Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi crashed a few boundaries as well, to push that total beyond 500, with India's lone consolation coming in the form of a six-wicket hail for Ishant Sharma - a scant consolation, though, considering it cost him 134 runs, and the Kiwis posted a massive 503.
India face a tall order, with Dhoni and co. still needing 174 runs more to avoid the follow on on Day 3, a day which, weather permitting, will hold a lot more deliveries with play starting early following the early closure on the second day.
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