India received a massive boost when Ishant Sharma was declared fit for the Test series against New Zealand and the fast bowler gave a great account of his pedigree, as he emerged as the pick of the bowlers on the second day of the ongoing Test match against New Zealand in Wellington.
His relentlessness and persistence with the ball has kept India in the game and this should give the side a lot of confidence when they take to the field on Day 3.
New Zealand, on the back of a superb knock by their skipper Kane Williamson, ended the day on 216 for 5, but India should believe they can restrict them on Day 3.
Here in this article, we take a look at the lessons learnt by Virat Kohli and company after the completion of Day 2.
#1 Pitch flattens out in Wellington
As was expected, the pitch was far better to bat on Day 2 and the green tinge and moisture which had troubled India on Day 1 was minimal, and this allowed the Kiwi batsmen to bed in and play to their strengths. The Indian bowlers did not get nearly as much assistance from the pitch as their Kiwi counterparts and this allowed the hosts to bat with a lot of freedom.
This should be a big lesson for Virat Kohli and company - a few loose strokes were played in the first innings and had the Indian batsmen played with a little more discipline, they could have cashed in big time on Day 2. New Zealand already have a lead and they have five wickets in hand. India are under pressure and the conditions did play a massive part in the same.
#2 Ishant is the leader of the pack
India kept scrapping after tea and the reason why they are still in the contest is all because of Ishant Sharma. New Zealand breezed past India's total losing only two wickets in the process - both of which were taken by Sharma. The pacer kept coming up and kept posing questions.
Sharma ended the day with three wickets and for Kohli, he was the biggest plus. Always on the money, always forcing the batsmen to play, the Delhi pacer got rid of Tom Latham, Tom Blundell and then got the big wicket of Ross Taylor.
It was the Taylor wicket which breathed life into India and then Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin combined to pick two more wickets to peg back the hosts. When Day 3 starts and when the bowlers will have enough rest, Kohli would hope for more of the same from Sharma and his other fast bowlers.
#3 There is turn and uneven bounce
Another positive which India can take from the proceedings on Day 2 is the uneven nature of the pitch and how Ashwin got few balls to move around after pitching. New Zealand have to bat last on this surface and if India manage to keep them down to a low total and then bat better in the second innings, any target on a fourth innings pitch with his Indian attack will not be an easy one.
The ball which accounted for Henry Nicholls' wicket will give the Indian attack a lot of hope, Ashwin delivered it from around the stumps, the ball pitched on middle and off, spun and had bounce. Nicholls thought he had the line covered, but the ball spun enough to take the outside edge and carried nicely through to Virat Kohli in the gully/second slip position.
India now need to take care of the remaining five wickets and not concede a big lead when action resumes on Day 3. There is still hope for the visitors and they need to be relentless.Published 22 Feb 2020, 13:58 IST