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India 100-2 in reply to New Zealand’s 192

February 14, 2014

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Six wickets from Ishant Sharma, followed by a fluent 71 runs from Shikhar Dhawan, put India on top of New Zealand after the first day of the second test.

New Zealand was sent in to bat on a green-top wicket and India’s pacemen exploited the available seam to bowl out the hosts for 192. India then reached 100-2 in reply by stumps, with Dhawan on 71 not out.

Sharma took 6-51 — his fifth five-wicket haul in tests — while Mohammed Shami claimed 4-70 as New Zealand’s innings ended shortly after tea despite some resistance from the lower order.

The pitch was more sedate when India batted and, after the loss of Murali Vijay for 2 in the second over, Dhawan comfortably steered the tourists into the ascendancy.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss for the seventh time in as many matches on the tour and did not hesitate in choosing to bowl on a pitch so lushly-grassed that it was almost indistinguishable from the unmown strips which flanked it.

Sharma used a combination of short-pitched and full deliveries to unsettle, then remove a succession of New Zealand batsmen, beginning with openers Hamish Rutherford (12) — caught at slip off a flyer — and Peter Fulton (13) — trapped lbw by a full, swinging delivery.

Sharma then dismissed Tom Latham for a duck on debut and sent New Zealand to lunch at 51-4. Shami made his first breakthrough when he dismissed first test double century-maker Brendon McCullum for 8, luring the Black Caps skipper into an impulsive drive high to Ravindra Jadeja at mid-off.

Sharma returned after lunch to remove Corey Anderson for 24 and wicketkeeper B.J. Watling without scoring. Watling received an outstanding delivery which bounced, jagged and took the shoulder of the bat before flying to third slip.

New Zealand was in desperate trouble at 86-6 but was able to progress toward a decent total thanks to some luck and Kane Williamson’s 47.

Williamson was caught twice only for replays to reveal the deliveries were no-balls: the first off the bowling of Zaheer Khan on the last ball before lunch, and then another of Sharma when short leg Cheteshwar Pujara took a brilliant, sprawling catch.

He was finally caught, by Rohit Sharma at slip off Shami.

Jimmy Neesham, batting at No. 8 on test debut, made 33 and Tim Southee hit 32 to add a late flourish to the New Zealand innings.

“Losing the toss and being put in wasn’t in the plan,” Neesham said.

“We did well to fight through and give us something on the board to bowl at. Then they batted quite well at the end there.”

Tim Southee made a breakthrough in the second over when Vijay tried to leave a ball which jagged back from outside off and clipped the glove on the way to wicketkeeper Watling.

Dhawan and Pujara then combined in an 87-run partnership for the second wicket. Sharma, after having done an outstanding job with the ball, was sent out as nightwatchman and survived until stumps.

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