The rain had put a dampener on the proceedings and very few spectators were at the ground. Those present were very vocal and excited in welcoming the players onto the ground. Chris Harris had the crowd roaring behind him as he walked out onto the field.
The New Zealanders went through some innovative fielding exercises, and looked a thoroughly professional unit. In contrast the India 'A' side went through the motions of their exercises, much the same way warm ups are done in schools cricket. Stephen Fleming began his tour of India on a high note, winning the toss. With the outfield still wet and slippery, Fleming chose to bat first.
Mathew Horne and Mathew Bell took first strike for New Zealand on this tour of India. Amit Bhandari took up the attack for India 'A' but began badly, sending down two consecutive no balls to begin the match. After the initial difficulty, Bhandari settled down and bowl a good line outside the off-stump. Iqbal Siddiqui was on the spot from the first ball and made Bell play. After 16 balls the Kiwis got their first run off the bat.
Bell had an early let off when he fended at a ball outside offstump. Bell was nowhere near the pitch of the ball and the ball flew off the edge to the slip cordon. The India 'A' captain Amol Muzumdar at second slip let the ball slip through him. The ball raced to the third man boundary.
Horne hit the first genuine stroke of the day when he flicked Siddiqui nonchalantly to the mid-wicket boundary. He followed that with a smashing cut shot that would have raced to the fence in most situations. The outfield was slow as a result of all the moisture that had been absorbed in the last few days. Horne then slammed a ball from Siddiqui straight back past him for what was the shot of the day up to that point. Presenting the full face of the bat, Horne drove the ball magnificently off the front foot. Bell struggled to get going and was repeatedly beaten outside off-stump. Bell finally got a measure of the pitch and the bowling and flicked a ball from Siddiqui confidently to the fineleg fence.
Horne made a serious error of judgment and let a perfect in cutter from Bhandari go. The ball cut in of the seam and knocked the leg stump right out of the ground. Horne had made 18 off 31 balls.
Craig Spearman came in at the fall of Horne's wicket. New Zealand got its first taste of spin as Murali Karthik came on to bowl. He dropped the ball short and wide and was hammered to the point boundary by Spearman. Bhandari had his second scalp when Bell guided a ball wide outside off-stump straight to Wasim Jaffer at gully. Bell had made 21.
The New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming walked out to the middle at the fall of Bell's wicket and was greeted by a Bhandari bouncer that sailed harmlessly through to the wicketkeeper. Fleming drove the ball on the up in characteristic lazy fashion and was almost caught as the ball dropped inches short of the fielder at cover.
Fleming moved his feet well and looked extremely comfortable against the Indian bowling. Bhandari, the Delhi medium pacer, was the only bowler to trouble the Kiwis. He was kept on for a long spell at one end while Murali Karthik bowled his steady left arm spin from the other end. At the end of a 9 over spell that cost him just 20 runs, in which he picked up 2 wickets, Bhandari gave way to Siddiqui.
Murali Karthik plugged away at a good line and length and was finally rewarded when Spearman tried to sweep him off his pads. Spearman missed the line of the ball completely and was bowled around his legs.
Soon after there was more disappointment for New Zealand as Fleming edged a ball on to his pads and the ball lobbed up to Wasim Jaffer at gully. Jaffer pouched the catch easily and New Zealand were 71 for 4.
McMillan came in and went after Murali Karthik from the word go. He came down the wicket and lofted the spinner straight back over his head for a huge six. Astle and McMillan batted positively together and began to score boundaries at will. Murali Karthik who was steady up to this point dropped the ball short a couple of times and was slashed away to the off-side boundary on both occasions.
Murali Karthik and Sriram then bowled very tightly in tandem and stemmed the flow of runs. New Zealand were making slow but steady progress when Sriram dismissed McMillan. McMillan had made 20. A sharp turner from Sriram jumped and kissed the edge of McMillan's bat and went through to the wicketkeeper.
Adam Parore came in next and was watchful to start off. Parore played with a straight bat and did not attempt any flashy strokes. At the end of 35 overs New Zealand were 119 for 5.
Though he was coasting along nicely, Parore threw his wicket away just before the close of play. He attempted a big heave off Satpathy and ended up dragging the ball to the on-side. The ball went into the waiting hands of Siddiqui at mid-on. Parore had made 11. New Zealand were in trouble at 134 for 6.
Chris Cairns came in and it was obvious that he was playing for close. He left most deliveries alone and played only when he had to. The batsmen were offered light at the end of 44 overs. The New Zealanders readily accepted and went off the field. Astle was not out on 29 and New Zealand were 135 for 6.
What began as a practice day for New Zealand ended on a disappointing note. The visitors lost far more wickets than they would have liked. The day was dominated by the India 'A' bowlers whose consistency and accuracy held them in good stead.
N Zealanders vs Karnataka
Ind Pres XI vs N Zealanders
N Zealanders vs India A
New Zealand tour of India