'Day 3: A new day can mean a new beginning'

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 24, 2016 00:58 hrs
virat kohli and rahul

If Indian cricket supporters thought that the New Zealand team will be an easy opponent for the start of the long season, they would have been in for a surprise after seeing the manner in which firstly their bowlers stuck to their task and restricted the Indian batting line-up to 318 runs and then their batsmen Tom Latham and Kane Williamson batted against the Indian attack and not only thwarted them but also played some sparkling shots against them.

Sure the game is only two days old and the pitch has begun to show some signs of deterioration which won't make batting easier as the game goes into the fourth and fifth day.

Having got the opportunity to bat first after the New Zealand skipper got the fall of the coin wrong, India would have been hoping to get close to 500 in the 500th Test match that they were playing and when Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara were batting it did look possible.

Pujara certainly seemed a lot more positive in his approach than he was in the West Indies, where he seemed ponderous and was unable to hit the ball off the square. He is a quick learner and so it was not a surprise that he was looking for runs and not just to stay at the crease.

Vijay had not batted after he got injured in the first Test in the West Indies, so he took time to settle down. The Kiwi bowlers know that Virat Kohli likes the challenge of the short ball and are prepared to sacrifice a few boundaries in order to snare the Indian captain who is a compulsive hooker.

Rohit Sharma did all the hard work and showed admirable restraint before impatience took hold and he lost his wicket. But for R Ashwin's stubborn batting and then later Ravindra Jadeja playing some lovely shots India would have been shot out for an embarrassing score.

New Zealand began briskly with Martin Guptill doing most of the scoring. He is like Rohit, a different player when in coloured clothes and another one in the traditional whites. Like India are doing with Sharma so also the Kiwis are giving lots of chances to Guptill because both are the kind of players who can take the game away from the opposition and score at a clip which skippers are wanting in order to get enough time to bowl the opposition out.

Latham has a most impressive record against the spinners and his unfussy approach to batting is the ideal foil for Williamson's brilliance. The right and left handed combination did not allow the Indian spinners to settle into the line and length that they like. Just towards tea time and before the rains came down, the pitch was showing some signs of turn. The batsmen also suddenly looked less assured so India would have been hoping for some wickets but that didn't happen as play was ruled out for the rest of the day.

The new day means that the batsmen will have to settle down again and that is India's best chance to try and get some early wickets. The effect of the roller means the pitch is easier to bat on in the first session of play but a new day can also mean a new beginning and that's what the Indian bowlers will have to do if they are hoping to restrict the New Zealand batsmen.

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