India off to flying start
Ahmedabad - Opener Virender Sehwag smashed an unbeaten 87 to give India a brisk start in the opening Test against New Zealand on Thursday.
Sehwag hit 15 fours in his typically aggressive 84-ball knock as the hosts raced to 127-1 at lunch after Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bat at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Rahul Dravid (12) was the other not out batsman at the break.
The first session belonged to Sehwag who entertained the fans with a breathtaking array of shots all around the ground.
The dashing batsman shared 60 runs with Gautam Gambhir, the duo surpassing the 3 010-run tally of Chetan Chauhan and Sunil Gavaskar to become the most prolific opening pair for India.
Sehwag started off aggressively, hitting fast bowler Chris Martin (0-28) for three fours in the third over of the day.
He was equally belligerent against Jesse Ryder.
But Ryder struck back, with Gambhir inside-edging onto the leg-stump while attempting a drive. He hit three fours in his 21-run knock.
Sehwag completed his 24th Test half-century in style, driving off-spinner Jeetan Patel through the covers for an exquisite four.
The Black Caps, who are yet to win a Test series in India, handed caps to fast bowler Hamish Bennett and batsman Kane Williamson.
Top-ranked India are the favourites to win the three-Test series after beating Australia 2-0 at home last month.
The second Test will be played in Hyderabad from November 12-16 and the third in Nagpur from November 20-24. The Tests will be followed by five one-day internationals from November 28.