After Kyle Jamieson (3/47) rocked India, Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja (50* ) featured in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 113 to lift the hosts. India were on top when bad light forced early stumps after 84 overs.
Iyer and Jadeja joined forces with the score reading 145 for 4 in the 50th over, after stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed. The debutant was nervous initially, but gradually settled in. He had a close shave just before Tea when he was rapped on the back leg by William Somerville. The umpire did not raise his finger, after which Kane Williamson went for review. But Iyer survived on umpire’s call. He went to Tea on 17* while Jadeja was giving him company on 6.
Iyer batted with aggression in the last session. He took on the debutant from the opposite team, Rachin Ravindra, and hit him for four boundaries in a space of seven overs. Two of them came off successive deliveries in the 64th over. Iyer first dangerously cut a ball from middle stump to the left of backward point. Next delivery, he danced down the track and lofted the left-arm spinner inside-out over extra-cover. Iyer brought up an impressive fifty on debut by driving Southee for a single down the ground.
At the other end, Jadeja displayed his growing maturity as he played a risk-free innings. He was content rotating the strike and also hit six boundaries in his knock. Jadeja brought up the 100-run partnership by clipping a rare loose ball from Jamieson down leg for a four. The next ball was punched through the covers for another boundary.
Jadeja reached his 17th Test fifty by tapping Southee towards mid-off for a single. Just before the close of play, Iyer launched Somerville for a six over mid-wicket
Shubman Gill hits fourth Test fifty
Team India opener Shubman Gill scored an impressive half-century and found good support from Cheteshwar Pujara as the hosts recovered from the early dismissal of Mayank Agarwal to reach 82 for 1 at Lunch on Day 1 of the first Test.
Batting first after winning the toss, India’s opening stand lasted less than eight overs. Having bowled a probing spell, Jamieson forced Agarwal (13) to nick a length ball that straightened a bit. The Indian opener was tentative outside the off-stump and paid the price for it.
Gill, however, looked assured and scored at a decent pace. Very early in his innings, he was adjudged lbw to Tim Southee, but got the decision overturned as replays showed an inside edge. The young opener enjoyed the left-arm spin of Ajaz Patel, against whom he struck a few boundaries as well as a six, which was launched over long-on.
Gill reached in his fourth fifty in the 27th over by working Somerville towards mid-wicket for a single. At the other end, Pujara was his usual defiant self. India went to lunch with Gill on 52 and Pujara on 15.
Jamieson jolts India in second session
India failed to build on the solid platform in the second session as New Zealand kept chipping away at the wickets. The hosts added 72 for the loss of three big wickets in the second session, and went to Tea on Day 1 at 154 for 4.
Jamieson struck immediately after Tea, castling a well-set Gill for 52. The tall New Zealand pacer got one to nip back off the deck and Gill, who wasn’t full forward, inside-edged the delivery onto the stumps. Pujara’s resistance ended on 26 off 88 balls. Yet again, he perished pushing at a delivery outside off stump as Southee got one to straighten.
Stand-in skipper Rahane and Iyer looked good as they started steadying the ship. Rahane even struck a few handsome boundaries once he got his eye in. On the first ball of the 50th over, he was given out caught down the leg side off Jamieson’s bowling. However, he survived using the DRS as he hadn’t nicked the ball. The end for Rahane, though, came very next ball. On 35, he chopped on a length delivery outside off, playing away from his body.
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Rahane’s dismissal left India in trouble, but Iyer and Jadeja put the hosts back on top with a superlative stand.