Debutant Kyle Jamieson tore through India with a three-wicket burst to headline a rainy start to New Zealand’s two-Test series against world No.1 India on Friday, 21 February.
Making the most of an overcast Wellington morning, Jamieson snuffed out the two biggest threats in the opposition, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, in his opening spell, before returning to account for Hanuma Vihari, after Kane Williamson had little hesitation in deciding to field first upon winning the toss.
Jamieson’s efforts reduced India to 40/3, before Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane staged a very brief recovery with a 48-run fourth-wicket stand. By stumps, India were 122/5, with only R Ashwin and the tail to follow.
While Jamieson did the bulk of the damage, it was Tim Southee who opened the gates, when a ripping outswinger whizzed past Prithvi Shaw’s outside edge and flattened his off stump. It was a classic Southee delivery: full, swinging away, and luring the batsman into the drive, which Shaw did, without moving his feet to cover the swing, and paid the price.
Jamieson then produced the most decisive blows on the day in back-to-back overs. First, Pujara prodded forward to a fullish delivery, angled into the right-hander, but was taken aback when it straightened and kissed the outside edge before sailing into the hands of wicket-keeper BJ Watling.
Kohli’s dismissal was down as much to the batsman’s own undoing as it was to the bowler’s brilliance. Jamieson, to his credit, pitched the ball around the 10th stump line to the Indian captain, who has a penchant for chasing deliveries that are well outside his reach. And while they sometimes produce the most crisp cover drives in world cricket, often times, they bring about his downfall, as in this instance, when Ross Taylor, playing his landmark 100th Test for New Zealand, snaffled a tumbling catch, off the outside edge, at first slip.
Kyle Jamieson pitches one up to Hanuma Vihari and gets it to move just a touch to find the outside edge.— ICC (@ICC) February 21, 2020
That's his third wicket. What a dream debut this has been so far!#NZvIND pic.twitter.com/6JgEpAUMGz
Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane then kept New Zealand at bay for the next 17 overs. At lunch, India were 79/3, but any hopes of consolidation after the early morning advantage begins to wear down were crushed when Agarwal, having ground it out for 83 balls for his 34 runs, miscued a pull shot against Trent Boult, off the top edge, to long leg, where Jamieson was once again in the thick of the action, snaffling the ball in front of him.
Vihari’s brief stay ended on the first ball after drinks, when Jamieson, returning for his second spell, produced the outside edge to have him caught behind. Rishabh Pant, playing his first match on the tour, shelved all his attacking instincts to play well within his body, as he and Rahane got down to blocking out everything New Zealand’s bowlers threw at them. They did so for 14 overs, before the rain came down at the tea interval and the players stayed inside for the rest of the day.
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