India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 1st day August 31, 2012

Taylor assault makes it New Zealand's day


New Zealand 328 for 6 (Taylor 113, van Wyk 63*, Guptill 53, Ojha 4-90) v India
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A sizzling counterattack by New Zealand captain Ross Taylor produced a high-speed century that sparked an improved display from the visitors on the opening day of the second Test against India. At stumps, New Zealand, who had elected to bat, were 328 for 6. Led by Taylor's incandescent 113, New Zealand's batsmen had, in the course of a single day, scored more runs than they had in both innings in Hyderabad.

Play was stopped due to bad light and eventually called off for the day about half an hour before the scheduled close, the umpires offering light to the batsman after Umesh Yadav bowled half of his first over with the second new ball. Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell strode off, van Vyk batting on a deftly engineered 63 and Bracwell on 30. The two had found themselves at the crease after Taylor's departure, and within an hour had put on 82 for the seventh wicket.

Taylor's seventh Test century formed the bulk of the New Zealand batting effort. It was buffeted by two fifties, one by Martin Guptill at the top of the order which ended in dismay and the other by keeper van Wyk. It ensured that New Zealand could dismiss the innings and 115-run defeat in Hyderabad as a nightmare that need not be repeated.

After the departure of New Zealand's top three batsmen before lunch, Taylor let his aggression and intent take over. It was a fearless innings, the runs scored both robustly and in fine style. Taylor slog swept Ashwin for six before the lunch interval and when he returned, cranked the scoring up a gear. The India bowlers were hit all around the Chinnaswamy Stadium, with lusty slog sweeps, crisp straight drives and spanking shots through cover. New Zealand, or rather Taylor, was scoring at nearly seven runs an over in the hour after lunch. The hardworking Ojha was punished with four boundaries in his second over after lunch, Zaheer for two including a disdainful straight drive in his second spell, Ashwin was guided fine down to the boundary past leg slip. Taylor got to his century in 99 balls, cutting Ojha to the point boundary and two balls later, hit him down the ground for his second six over long-off.

For a captain who had a miserable first Test - losing the toss, dropping catches in slip and scoring nine in two innings - Taylor's innings on Friday was a more just exhibition of his batting abilities. On New Zealand's miserable tour of the West Indies in July, it was Taylor who had scored the sole New Zealand century, in the fourth ODI in St Kitts. New Zealand's previous Test century had come six months ago from Kane Williamson in a drawn Test against South Africa in Wellington.

Taylor's innings lit up the Bangalore crowd that grew through the day; his aggressive mode of batting had also been welcomed at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, when he had played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. The reception he received after his hundred against India, also, didn't lack in either enthusiasm or warmth.

It was vital for New Zealand that their batting continued forcefully, after Martin Guptill had shaken off the early dismissal of Brendon McCullum in the morning. Guptill played the aggressor in his 63-run second-wicket stand with Kane Williamson. After being troubled by Ojha and dropped off Zaheer on 17, Guptill found his groove, his innings resolute in judgement and positive in strokeplay. He struck three boundaries off Yadav in a single over and two off Zaheer, including a cracking backfoot drive through extra cover. Less than half an hour before lunch though, Ojha pulled in the fielders, tossed one up and lured Guptill. It was the perfect bait: the ball didn't turn, Guptill's intended shot on the on-side ended up in Gautam Gambhir's hands at midwicket. Despite India's slow bowling tradition, Ojha was the first specialist India spinner to open the bowling in a Test match, and took four of the six New Zealand wickets to fall today.

Taylor, who owned the second session, was out in the fifth over after tea, forced to sweep against Ojha with the off side plugged. The ball was tossed up and Ojha hit Taylor in front of off and middle. His innings of 113 off 127 balls had slowed down only at the fall of Daniel Flynn's wicket, bringing to an end New Zealand's biggest partnership on this tour: 107 runs for the fourth wicket. Flynn had hung on gamely over an hour for 33, but for the third time in three innings, was leg before trying to sweep Ashwin. The loss of James Franklin - he hit a full toss from Ojha to a diving Suresh Raina at midwicket - had New Zealand stuttering at 215 for 5.

But inspired by Taylor's bold batsmanship, the undefeated 82-run seventh-wicket partnership between van Wyk and Bracewell added 32 runs in five overs following the captain's departure. Van Wyk's was an innings almost patented by chirpy, pocket-sized keepers; he was only 12 when Taylor was out and took charge, happy to have the quicker bowlers bowling at one end. Zaheer Khan was guided past slips, van Wyk taking 13 off the 16 balls he faced off him, and the quick-but-struggling Yadav went for 14 runs in six balls, including two fours an over. The partnership took New Zealand past 300, but they will be sobered by the knowledge that in the previous Test held in Bangalore in 2010, Australia had scored over 400 in their first innings and still lost.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • A on September 1, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    On this evidence I'm inclined to believe the Indians - Ind Vs Eng this winter won't be close, India is going to be thrashed.

  • Mohan on September 1, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    india were 63/2 at lunch.....gambir still didn't change what he did in england and australia ....he is doing just the same .....i dont think that these opening partners would be best for the upcoming series against england and australia ....india should try rahane instead of gambir/sehwag in opening......everyone said pujara is the next dravid/laxmman bla bla... after he scored in hydrebad ,but he couldn't play in this pitch,so u cant justify with just 1 innings he had scored .

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    @Chris_P It doesn't work that way dude. Yes, Indian wickets are not conductive to pace bowlers, but that doesn't mean that we have to welcome visiting teams with green tracks. We should always play to our strengths, that is preparing dust bowls. The suggestions you made should rather be made at the domestic cricket level, so that the batsman can develop his technique to survive in different conditions, and pace bowlers can also prosper.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    @ Peter_Jones2012 - If all the runs scored by Indian batsmen in sub-continent are meaningless (as your countryman Ted Osborne said) then logically speaking all the wickets picked by Australian fast bowlers in Aus, Eng, SA and NZ are of no use either.

  • Mathew on September 1, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Cmon NZ. Still feel with Raina in the side Ind's tail starts at 5. Suppose we will have to wait and see how Ind bat today to see how this match will progress. One feels that unless Ind get victory it will be a poor result. Gambir/Sehwag must be the worst opening partnership in the game right now. And can an Ind fan please tell me why Raina is in the team?

  • jared on September 1, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    im going to give a plug to the nz coach here, i loved john wrights no noncense approach but the batsman all looked scared to play any shots under his reign. mike hesson has obviously given them a little more freedom to play their natural game instead of trying to play like mark richardson and what do you know it kind of worked and forced the indians to rethink there game plan. well done nz, foot on the throat time

  • Brendan on September 1, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    Hopefully Australia's loss is nothing to go by for batting on this wicket. If they can make it to 420+, they would be in good position. But they need Boult, Patel, Bracewell and Southee to fire up and destroy India's top 7 batsman if they are any chance to win because the pitch will start to turn and Ashwin and Ohja will have a field day in the second innings. Good luck NZ, you can win this test (and the T20's).

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    @Sonya Jones : yes Umesh is not even good for a club bowler. So is Ponting and Warne when playing in sub continent conditions.NONE of the Australian spinners even match our U19 club players forget Kumble or Harbhajan. The less we talk about batsmen the better, Get in touch with Don Bradman to know more ..

  • Beau on September 1, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    @dalboy12: Yep, agree with everything you said. Some being very hard on India. 6 wickets on the first day on a track that looks pretty flat? Not too shabby. NZ just played well, and weren't so outrageously unlucky as they have been recently. Dhoni was a little defensive, sure. But SA & WI both beat NZ comfortably by waiting them out, while AUS stumbled by attempting to beat them at their own game last year, so I think his tactics are understandable. Big day for the NZ bowlers, a bit of hit n' giggle and then on to business. Southee is key. If he's on song, The Indians will need to attack Boult, Bracewell, and Patel, which is what those guys want. I love the intent evident in selecting this particular attack. Bring on day 2!

  • Anish on September 1, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    Ross Taylor did a good job with the bat to take his side to an advantageous position. Inspite of the early setback of losing 3 wickets within 100 runs, he kept attacking the bowlers which didn't allow them to settle down. The match is perfectly balanced now and the onus is on the lower middle order to take the score past 350 run mark.

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