Kanpur, November 25 (Agency)
Shreyas Iyer smashed an unbeaten half-century in his debut match and stitched an unbroken century partnership with Ravindra Jadeja as India overcame Kyle Jamieson’s setbacks for 258 for four on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand here on Thursday. Make it Iyer, who won the ‘Test cap’ in the absence of some top players, is stuck at the crease after scoring 75 runs, which is sure to add to the selectors’ headache while selecting the playing XI for the Mumbai Test as regular skipper Virat Kohli will then return.
Iyer has faced 136 balls so far and has hit seven fours and two sixes. He has so far added 113 runs for the fifth wicket with Jadeja (50 not out off 100 balls). The day’s play was declared over six overs earlier due to bad light. Apart from these two, the innings of opener Shubman Gill (52 off 93 balls) was the center of attraction. Cheteshwar Pujara (26 off 88 balls) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (35 off 63 balls) failed to play big innings despite a good start while opener Mayank Agarwal (13 off 28 balls) failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
The tall pacer Jamieson (3 for 47) again troubled the Indian batsmen. He bowled Gill and Rahane after Agarwal was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell in the morning session. Veteran pacer Tim Southee (1 for 43) meanwhile disturbed Pujara’s concentration. The pitch was slow and the ball was staying down on it but it was not getting the required turn, due to which the three New Zealand spinners Ayaz Patel (78 runs in 21 overs), William Somerville (60 runs in 24 overs) and Rachin Ravindra (seven overs) 28 in) had to struggle. Both Gill and Iyer batted freely in front of the spinners. Iyer looked a bit uncomfortable at first but soon he started his natural batting and scored runs with restrained aggression.