Five star Kumar pin Kiwis to the mat
1st October 2016
India tightened the noose around New Zealand reducing the visitors to 128 for 7 after reaching a healthy 316 riding a fine unbeaten half-centry from Wriddhiman Saha and a five star effort from Bhuvaneswar Kumar at the end of the rain interrupted Day II of the the second Test at Eden Gardens.
As the Kiwis looked like melting down under a sweltering sun and in face of some fine seam and swing bowling from the Indian duo of Md Shami and Bhuvaneswar Kumar, a bevy of gray cloud appeared on the horizon and a smart shower followed stopping the game at 1.30 pm with the Kiwis on 85 for four. Play began again at 4pm after some smart work from the groundsmen made sure not much time was lost.
Earlier, Saha added shine to his growing reputation of scoring vital runs in the lower-order remaining unbeaten on 54 (85b, 4x7, 6x2) as the hosts recovered from an early jolt on day one to put up a par total on a trying wicket. For the visitors, pacer Matt Henry was the pick of the bowlers returning figures of 3/46 with Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Jeetan Patel bagging two wickets each.
The local boy looked in fine touch from the outset caressing the second ball of the day through covers for four elegantly. Saha hit seven fours and two sixes en route to his half-century which he scored in 109 minutes. In the fear of running out of partners, Saha upped the ante as soon as the other overnight batsman Ravindra Jadeja fell for 14.
The partnership of 41 for the eighth wicket was broken and the visitors had again picked up a wicket just when the duo were starting to look good. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami did not last long falling to Santner and Trent Boult, respectively, as the Indian essay folded 87 minutes into the morning session.
If the first session belonged to Saha, the second belonged to Bhuvaneswar Kumar. He finished with figures of 10 overs 33 runs 5 wickets. India had reduced New Zealand to 21/2 after five overs at lunch. Stand-in captain Ross Taylor was batting on 2 while Henry Nicolls was unbeaten on 1. New Zealand batsmen struggled to cope with the swing and guile of Bhuvneshwar and Shami as both openers fell in quick succession. While Tom Latham (1) played around his stumps to a Shami delivery coming angled into the stumps off the seam to be adjudged leg before wicket, Martin Guptill (13) was caught in two minds, dragging the ball to his stumps.
The procession continued after lunch. When in the second over following the break Kumar struck removing Nichols with a fine off-cutter. Next was Luke Ronchi scalped by Ravinder Jadeja. With his departure the last bit of resistence that was left in the Kiwi side was gone. Rain stole 129 minutes off the game, but with the tea time added the total loss of playing time was 111 minutes. But that did not save the Kiwis.
As the game resumed, Kohli stuck with his pacers and they didnt disappoint. While Shami kept the procedings tight at one end. Kumar kept chipping away. Ross Taylor was befuddled by a delivery that fell on good length straigthened and took a healthy edge on way to Saha. Out for 36, Taylor walked back still bemused by his dismissal. Kumar removed Santner and Henry with two consecutive deliveries in his next over and was looking set for a hattrick. However, the ball missed the edge despite Jeetan Patel hanging the bat dangerously.
After the match Kumar said: "When Virat (Kohli) saw a little grass on the pitch, he threw the ball at us and asked us to have a go. I am happy that I have been able to bowl well. Ross Taylor's wicket was specially satisfying."
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