Ishant Sharma exploited the seaming conditions brilliantly to return with a career-best 6/51 as India took early control of the second and final Test by skittling out New Zealand for a paltry 192 in the first innings on Friday. Sharma justified captain MS Dhoni’s decision to bowl first on a greentop as the lanky pacer kept the host batsmen on their toes with his testing line and length.
Rising pacer Mohammed Shami (4/70) also contributed in India’s dominating performance show on Day One as he picked up key wickets of Kane Williamson (47) and debutant James Neesham (33) at crucial junctures.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan then hit an attacking unbeaten half-century as India reached 100/2 at close, still trailing by 92 runs at the Basin Reserve. Dhawan (71) and night-watchman Sharma (3) were at the crease after the visitors lost the wickets of opener Murali Vijay (2) and Cheteshwar Pujara (19).
Sharma continued with his splendid show from the first Test as he claimed his second five-wicket haul of the series and fifth overall in his 55th Test. Sharma took three wickets in the first four overs of his morning spell and that laid the foundation for India’s hugely successful day when they are hoping to level the series.
While experienced speedster Zaheer Khan hit probing lengths immediately, Shami was still in the same mode as at Eden Park, bowling a tad short and looking for bounce from the wicket than movement in the air. However, he was negotiated easily by the batsmen as the Kiwi openers took 14 runs off his first three overs.