India vs New Zealand XI: Pujara, Vihari bail India out after Shaw, Gill bag ducks in warm-up clash
- India were eventually bowled out for 263 and this performance will not inspire much confidence leading into the Test series.
It was a tough initiation for the Indian team into red ball cricket as the top order was blown away by New Zealand XI’s seam bowlers in the only practice match between India and New Zealand XI in Christchurch. India batted first, but were soon reduced to 5 for 3. Prithvi Shaw fell for a 4-ball-duck in the first over itself. Mayank Agrawal, who has hit a patch of poor form, departed for 1 and then Shubman Gill bagged a duck as well to leave India reeling at 5 for 3.
Ajinkya Rahane then tried to steady the ship with Cheteshwar Pujara but the Indian vice-captain fell to Jimmy Neesham in the 16th over with the team score reading just 38. Hanuma Vihari walked in and after surviving a jittery initial stage, he bunkered in and fashioned a comeback along with Cheteshwar Pujara.
They dug deep and brought out a tight defensive game and added 96 runs for the fifth wicket when Tea was taken. Their sojourn continued even after the break. However, Pujara fell for 93 when he top edged a hook. Hanuma Vihari notched up a century and retired immediately after.
The rest of the batting did not inspire much confidence as Rishabh Pant came out swinging, but played one stroke too many and fell for 6 trying to slam Ish Sodhi down the ground. The short ball came back to haunt India once again as Wriddhiman Saha feathered a short one down the leg side. India were eventually bowled out for 263.
India are struggling with a number of injuries and with this match being the only practice match before the Test series, Virat Kohli would have wanted his young top order to be more resolute. While head coach Ravi Shastri has thrown his weight behind both Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, it is the form of Mayank Agarwal which will give the management plenty to think about.Published 14 Feb 2020, 10:52 IST