Ishant Sharma’s persistence kept India in the contest but New Zealand remained ahead in the Basin Reserve Test after they took India’s last five wickets for 43 runs on day two, and finished with a 51-run lead with five wickets of their own in hand. Kane Williamson was the only half-centurion in the match after Tim Southee’s early strikes did the damage in the morning. But India kept scrapping, taking three late wickets after the hosts had gone into the lead with only two wickets lost.
What will encourage India is that this didn’t appear to be a typical New Zealand pitch, which begins to lose life after the first day. There was evidence of uneven bounce deep into day two, and also turn and bounce for R Ashwin, who could be a handful if India can ask New Zealand to chase a decent score in the final innings. India will be reminded of the Bengaluru Test against Australia where they were bundled out cheaply on day one, but Sharma kept them alive with a giant effort with the ball in the first innings before a miraculous recovery in the second dig.
However, at stumps on day two, despite the late reverses, New Zealand held the advantage after a phenomenal morning and afternoon.—APP