Sat, 04 Apr 2020

Williamson, Taylor ensure New Zealand head India

News24
22 Feb 2020, 17:12 GMT+10

Wellington - Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor combined to ensure New Zealand held a first innings lead in the first Test against India in Wellington on Saturday, but the advantage was not overwhelming.

The marquee New Zealand pair both fell short of substantial innings by their standards, with captain Williamson out for 89 and Taylor gone for 44.

But their 93-run stand for the third wicket was enough to lift New Zealand from 73-2 to be ahead of India's 165 before the tourists fought back with three wickets in the final session.

When bad light brought an early end to the day, New Zealand were 216 for five, to lead by 51.

Sharma was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three for 31 off 15 overs.

Williamson went to the middle following the early dismissal of Tom Latham and was rocked by Sharma with the first ball he faced but from there he returned to his patient, confident self.

He put on 47 with Tom Blundell (30) for the second wicket before being joined by Taylor to put New Zealand in front.

The New Zealanders were clearly relishing home conditions in their first Test since being thrashed 3-0 in Australia.

Taylor, New Zealand's highest run scorer and celebrating his 100th Test, received a standing ovation when he entered the arena where he looked in fine touch as he peppered the boundaries with six fours and a six.

But on 44, what was shaping as a formidable partnership with Williamson was undone by a rising Sharma delivery that ballooned off the gloves to Cheteshwar Pujara at square leg.

With Taylor gone, Williamson lasted 10 more overs but only added a further 15 runs before his bid for a 22nd Test century came to an unexpected end when he drove a Mohammed Shami half volley to the safe hands of substitute fielder Ravindra Jadeja at cover.

The green wicket and overcast conditions which were in New Zealand's favour when they won the toss and opted to bowl were easing by the time India opened their attack.

The sun was out and the pitch was browning off, and apart from some sharp deliveries from Sharma much of the Indian bowling did not pose any serious threat to the batsmen.

India had resumed the day at 122 for five but could only muster another 32 runs on the second morning as their last five wickets fell in just over 13 overs.

Debutant Kyle Jamieson launched his Test career with figures of four for 39 while senior bowler Tim Southee, who removed India's top scorer Ajinkya Rahane for 46, finished with four for 49.

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