New Delhi:Riding on brilliant centuries by Ross Taylor (151) and Jesse Ryder (137*), New Zealand scored 351 for the loss of four wickets on Day 1 of the 2nd Test against India.
India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan initiated the proceedings for the day with the new ball. Ishant Sharma joined him. Electing to bat first, Tim McIntosh and Martin Guptill opened the innings for their side.
With the help of Dinesh Karthik, who came in place of injured skipper and wicket-keeper MS Dhoni, Ishant drew the first blood in the form of McIntosh (12) in as early as the seventh over of the day. But the replays suggested that the ball had hit the pad and not the bat. Jamie How walked in next.
How couldn't take the fierce Indian pace attack and gave away his wicket for just one run to Zaheer Khan. Three overs later, Guptill (8), while trying to save his wicket, became Zaheer's next victim and was sent back through a splendid Sehwag catch.
Jesse Ryder partnered Taylor when New Zealand struggled at 23/3 and then there was no looking back for the hosts. Kiwis were soon 98/3 at lunch with Ryder and Taylor batting at 39 and 32 respectively. Both the men went on to play superb knocks to put their side in command.
The loss of three wickets - McIntosh (12), How (1) and Guptill (8) in the first session was recovered by the mighty batsmen who dominated the post-lunch session. Yuvraj dropped Taylor's catch in the eleventh over of the day that cost India an efficient partnership between the two.
India used all its resources - Patel, Khan, Sharma and Harbhajan, including part-timers Sehwag and Yuvraj to shake and break the strong partnership but was in vain. Taylor hit 3rd Test century of his career at the stroke of tea to revive the NZ innings to 233/3.
Soon Ryder joined centurion Taylor and raised his 2nd Test hundred of his career with a neat four. This was also the second hundred against Indians.
Finally, ace spinner Harbhajan Singh gave India a sigh of relief when he sent back Ross Taylor (151) but by then he had already done enough damage. James Franklin then came out in the middle to support Ryder.
Both the batsmen batted till the end of day's play to take the score to 351/4. Ryder remained not out on 137 while Franklin was on 26. They will resume the batting on Day 2 in Napier.
Early in the morning, a surprise change in Indian line-up was seen with Virender Sehwag replacing MS Dhoni as the leader. Dhoni sat out due to his back pain. Dinesh Karthik came in as the wicket-keeper.
Leading 1-0 in the three-match series, the Indian team has been in decimating form and is high on confidence as it seeks to wrap up the three-match series with a win.
In contrast to India's three-seamer, one-spinner combination, New Zealand have packed their attack with two spinners and three seamers for the contest at the McLean Park.
New Zealand team:
TG McIntosh, BB McCullum, MJ Guptill, LRPL Taylor, JM How, JEC Franklin, JD Ryder, DL Vettori, IE O'Brien, CS Martin, JS Patel
G Gambhir, V Sehwag, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, KD Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, I Sharma, MM Patel