Former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha heaped praise on Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja's partnership for the fifth wicket on day one of the first Test in Kanpur. The hosts were in a spot of bother at 145-4 in the second session before the pair got to work and finished the day unbeaten.
Jadeja came into bat at No.6 in the absence of Rishabh Pant and proved to be an able ally to settled debutant Shreyas Iyer. The duo saw through the remainder of the day with minimal threat and forged a vital and intact 113-run partnership. While speaking on Cricbuzz, Ojha said:
"We can term this is as a match-defining partnership bevause had this partnership not occurred, India would have been well behind in this contest. These batsmen stood tall when India needed a partnership and have now given a solid foundation. India fell behind in the second session, but went on to claim the third session. So, it was a very good partnership."
Ojha also opined that India just need to bat through time and look to bat for as long as possible. With the pitch showing a hint of turn and formation of rough patches near the crease, Ojha feels that the team batting last will be in a lot of trouble. Ojha added:
"The longer India play in the first innings, the more harmful it will be for NZ in the fourth innings. The second new ball did not move as much as the first one, if the seamers don't get help, there will be added pressure on the spinners."
India finished Day 1 on a healthy score of 258/4. Shreyas Iyer shone on his debut with a fifty, while Ravindra Jadeja also brought up the 17th fifty of his Test career. Kyle Jamieson was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand, with variable bounce off his bowling being the downfall of the majority of the Indian batsmen.
New Zealand missed a trick by not playing Neil Wagner: Ojha
The Blackcaps, much like India, opted to play 3 spinners which meant that Neil Wagner had to make way. The left-arm seamer's presence was solely missed on the first day with the spinners not being effective in an attacking sense. Ojha felt that the spinners kept things tight, but they never troubled the Indian batsmen. He added:
"New Zealand missed a trick by not playing Neil Wagner. The spinners bowled well and kept things tight, but never bowled at a level where it seemed to trouble the Indian batsmen and get wickets. Wagner should have been played instead of one spinner. If you see his numbers, he is very effective in these surfaces, the angle through which he bowls and also reverse swing with the old ball. All of these are New Zealand's strenghths. This will be something that the New Zealand think tank will look into," Ojha elaborated.
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The spin trio of Ajaz Patel, William Somerville and Rachin Ravindra bowled more than half of the overs on the first day, but failed to pick up a single wicket.