India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 2nd day September 1, 2012

Kohli, Raina save India the blushes

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India 283 for 5 (Kohli 93*, Raina 55, Southee 3-35) trail New Zealand 365 (Taylor 113, van Wyk 71, Ojha 5-99) by 82 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Led by a Virat Kohli classic, after staggering somewhat at two points of their innings, India find themselves within 82 runs of the New Zealand first innings total of 365. Plus a healthy chance in this Test match. At stumps on day two, India were 283 for 5 with Kohli seven short of his century and MS Dhoni four short of his fifty.

Kohli formed the core of two middle-order partnerships that ensured that the Indians kept moving ahead. Just after lunch, India had wobbled at 80 for 4, before Kohli became the fulcrum of the Indian resistance even as New Zealand's impressive seam bowlers threatened to get their teeth into the Indian lower order.

A fifth wicket stand of 99 with Suresh Raina took control of the Indian innings after the loss of the top four. A sixth-wicket unbeaten 104-run partnership with Dhoni had made the most of the softer old ball. New Zealand's triumvirate of leading quick bowlers, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell and Trent Boult had an outstanding day of purpose, energy, swing bowling and wickets, more than ably aided by their fielders. In the final count, though, New Zealand were held off by these two partnerships.

At stumps, the Indian response was centered around Kohli's most intelligently compilied knock. He came in at 67 for 3, at the fall of Virender Sehwag's wicket. In the early part of innings, he gave the bowling due respect and with two aggressive partners at the other end, Kohli played at his own pace. He was neither over-defensive or overdosing on the aggro. His strokemaking was of the highest calibre, his first boundary only off the 21st ball. He stepped out confidently to hoist Jeetan Patel over midwicket for six and hitting Boult, Bracewell and James Franklin down the ground for straight boundaries. A controlled pull off his face to Bracewell was sufficient proof of his calibre.

Raina's 55 was a different kind of fifty. It had aggression mixed in with an urgency to find security around his No. 6 spot. He was the prime mover in the partnership with Kohli, given enough opportunity to go onto his front foot. His three boundaries in the second over he faced from Bracewell, however, included a cracking pull shot. When Patel tossed one up, Raina struck a sweet six over extra cover. He was given a reprieve on 48, stumped off a no ball off Patel. His innings came to an end quickly after tea. Like Hyderabad, he was caught trying to tickle one down the leg side, this time to Southee.

Much like Raina had done on his arrival during a crisis, Dhoni led his innings with big-hitting strokeplay. He took maximum benefit of the fact that his counterpart had offered him Patel's off spin at one end for as many as eight overs. Dhoni charged down the wicket against Patel, taking on the fielder at long-on and belted two sixes over his head. That kicked off his innings and got the partnership with Kohli going at a good clip.

Regardless of what was happening to Patel, Boult, Bracewell and Southee got the ball to move at good pace, even if they were a bit lenient by not putting enough short ball queries to Raina. Like he had done in Hyderabad, Ross Taylor overbowled Patel at a time when his three seamers were - between them - asking constant questions of the batsmen. Rather than use Franklin's very medium pace to wobble the ball around, Taylor chose to fall back on Patel.

Until then, New Zealand had given themselves the best chance in this Test, Southee instantly justifying his selection over Chris Martin, not only because he'd hit a six during his brief time at the crease. Within ten overs of the Indian innings, Southee had the wickets of Gautam Gambhir, shouldering arms and having his bail disturbed, and Cheteshwara Pujara, mistiming a hook leaving the hosts at 2 for 27.

At the other end, after a watchful start, Sehwag lashed at the bowling. At the lunch break he was on 39, with seven boundaries, an surviving an appeal for leg before and two nicks through the slips. His partner Sachin Tendulkar played at a subdued pace, searching for touch and timing.

In his first over after lunch, Bracewell's leg stump line to Sehwag was meant to eliminate the width and room he gobbled up on his way to 43. The third ball was whipped to the square leg boundary. The fourth ball, slightly straighter, was hit uppishly and ended up in the hands of the flying Flynn at short midwicket.

When Tendulkar hit a classic straight drive off Bracewell, it offered the clue that he may finally have settled in. One ball later, came the bowler's denouement: Tendulkar played all over a straight one and was bowled through his defence. It is the second time that Tendulkar was bowled through the gate in this series. Within eleven balls after lunch, India were tottering at 80 for 4 before Raina and Kohli got together.

Play had started half an hour early and New Zealand lost their last four wickets for 20 runs, within 45 minutes. The two overnight batsmen, Kruger van Wyk and Bracewell who added 99 for the seventh wicket, met with contrasting ends. van Wyk fell to a sustained spell of inquiry from Zaheer Khan, trying to guide one through to third man, Gambhir-style, but instead edged it to a diving Raina at second slip. Bracewell was unlucky to be the non-striker who ended up backing Southee too far. Ojha finished with 5 for 99, when he had Southee leg before for a lusty 14.

Overall, it was a tight day's Test cricket; New Zealand have kept throwing the challenges, Southee finishing with 3 for 35 and Bracewell 2 for 66; the control of the game will, however, depend on what India's last batting pair do on Sunday morning.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mathewjohn2176 on September 2, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    @chris_p and silly point, there you go ,finally got two LBW decisions :)

  • dummy4fb on September 2, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    all the best team india i wish u w3i9n t20 world cup

  • dummy4fb on September 2, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Dhoni should utilze the potentials of Ashwin upto the the level he possess. Ashwin seems to have been under utlized of both his batting and bowling skills. If it continues, it is a loss for India but Ashwin with his constancy will continue to be a part of the team.

  • jasonpete on September 2, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Posted by Chris_P on (September 01 2012, 23:41 PM GMT), It was a helpful condition yesterday due to cloudy and rain.The ball swung a lot and NZ bowlers did a good job .

  • RednWhiteArmy on September 2, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    India should be comfortably beating NZ... have NZ got better or India worse?

  • dummy4fb on September 2, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Ashwin Batting averages in his last 3 series

    Vs West Indies in India - 121 runs at 40.33 Vs Australia in Australia - 143 runs at 35.75 (2nd best in that series) Vs New Zealand in India till now - 69 runs at 69.00

    Most of the runs came batting with Tailenders. Had he got time with regular batsmen he would have scored runs. He has the better technique than Dhoni in Swinging conditions.

  • dummy4fb on September 2, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    Pujara showed gaping holes in his technique. He doesn't have the grace or technique required for international cricket. Before long, he will be back to the domestics when teams like Eng and SA exploit his short ball weakness . He looked like a tail ender playing the short ball ! Hilarious.....

  • anandjuly15 on September 2, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    I am sorry to say for NZ fans, NZ's performance especially in test both home and away (especially abroad) has been dismal since 2007 which coincides with departure of players like Stephen Fleming who was probably one of the best captains around and also other players like Bond (who was been on and off due to injuries and exiles), Mcmillan, Mark Richardson, Astle, Oram, Styris as well. I recollect series in India 99 -2000 and also 2003 -2004 (in 2003-2004) they enforced a follow on as well, performances were credible if not match winning.

    Also it seems Apart from SA and Australia (Aus who will be tested) during the course of the tours abroad in next 2 yrs, all other teams seems to be tigers at home and lambs abroad.

  • dummy4fb on September 2, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    UNMUKTA CHAND MUST REPLACE SACHIN IMMEDIATELY

    SHRIKANT must be replaced by Gavaskar aqs a selector

  • dummy4fb on September 2, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    Sachin must retire now or must be dropped like Ganguli Getting bowled out shows the weakness of any batsman It will be pity if Sachin will retire when he will break all batting records of scoring maximum zeros in tests and was clean bowled record number of times . Long live Ferrari dealer

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