New Zealand vs India 2020, 2nd Test, Day 2: Trent Boult magic puts India on backfoot
- Boult picked up three wickets to turn the game in New Zealand's favour.
Batting collapses and wild momentum swings encapsulated the pivotal second day of the second Test between India and New Zealand at the Hagley Oval.
For starters, New Zealand faced the music, slashing and nicking their way into adversity against India's revitalized bowling group. The pitch contained demons galore and each delivery seemed like an event, with batsmen jumping and fending awkwardly, the cherry zooming past the outside edges.
Ross Taylor counter-punched briefly, but India tightened the screws and the experienced campaigner perished trying to force the issue. India's unforgiving bowling coupled with the deck's hostility meant New Zealand's middle-order proved to be sitting ducks. Notwithstanding Tom Latham and Kyle Jamieson's contrasting knocks, the hosts could only muster 235, conceding a lead of 7 runs.
Although Mohammed Shami dominated the wickets column, Ravindra Jadeja vindicated his selection ahead of frontline off-break bowler Ravichandran Ashwin, nabbing two crucial scalps besides plucking an absolute blinder down at square leg.
Also see – PSL table
India looked to be in the ascendancy and an inspired batting performance could've sealed the deal, but what transpired next presumably damaged their chances beyond repair.
Trent Boult jolted India early, removing Mayank Agarwal. Prithvi Shaw defended resolutely and unfurled few gorgeous punches, but Tim Southee's well-directed bouncer caught him napping.
Virat Kohli played and missed frequently and also brandished few trademark cover drives until Colin de Grandhomme's jagging in-ducker concluded the skipper's miserable tour.
The tables had turned quite dramatically; India had squandered their advantage and were in desperate need of a partnership to steady the sinking ship. Having smelt blood, Kane Williamson unleashed his trump card, Neil Wagner.
The tireless speedster peppered Ajinkya Rahane with an assortment of bumpers, with one delivery even clonking the right-hander's helmet grille. Rahane looked to be devising strategies to counter Wagner's ploy, but achieved little success and finally chopped on, leaving India gasping for breath.
Much to India's chagrin, Cheteshwar Pujara and nightwatchman Umesh Yadav were castled in identical fashion with Boult using the angle from around the wicket and breaching their defenses.
By the time stumps were drawn, the visitors' lead sat at 97 runs and considering the nature of the surface and India's bowling efficiency, New Zealand could find chasing anything around 200 difficult.
The Kiwis aren't expected to give any quarters tomorrow, although India will have their hopes resting on Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, and Jadeja, following which the bowlers will need to deliver the goods and script a morale-boosting victory.Published 01 Mar 2020, 18:51 IST