Wellington - A maiden century to Ajinkya Rahane boosted India to a formidable
246-run first innings lead over New Zealand as they took command of the
second Test in Wellington on Saturday.
India were all out late in
the day for 438 in reply to New Zealand's 192, with Rahane's 118 backed
by 98 from Shikhar Dhawan and 68 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
stumps, after facing nine overs, New Zealand were 24-1 in their second
innings and facing a huge struggle to prevent India drawing the series.
Hamish Rutherford was not out 18 with Kane Williamson on four. Peter Fulton went for one, lbw to Zaheer Khan.
promising Rahane, playing only his fifth Test, was in exquisite form as
he drove and pulled the New Zealand seamers in a near chanceless
innings on a Basin Reserve wicket which had lost the venom it held on
the first day.
It took an exceptional catch from Trent Boult,
running in from the boundary and diving forward to clasp the ball
one-handed, to remove Rahane after a 158-ball knock that included 17
fours and one six.
Dhoni was intent on pushing the run rate when
he came in after Virat Kohli was removed for 38 by Neil Wager when the
left-arm pacer broke a stubborn partnership with Rahane.
Indian skipper belted nine fours and a six, including four boundaries
off successive balls by Wagner, until he was out getting a glove to a
short ball from Boult.
Ravindra Jadeja chimed in with 26 off 16
deliveries, and Zaheer Khan kept the run rate moving with 22 off 19
before he was the last wicket to fall.
Khan, though, was fortunate when on seven and India at 414-8 when he was caught at second slip by Fulton.
He was recalled when replays showed the delivery was a no ball, with Wagner delivering too wide of the off stump.
When India resumed the day at 100-2, New Zealand made heavy weather of removing nightwatchman Ishant Sharma.
was twice sat on his backside while subjected to a barrage of
short-pitched deliveries, but still managed to extend his score from an
overnight three to 26 before he was caught behind.
century-maker in the first Test, reached 98 when an attempt to drive a
seaming Tim Southee delivery gave wicketkeeper BJ Watling the second of
his five catches.
For New Zealand, Southee, Boult and Wagner took
three wickets apiece, while debutant Jimmy Neesham bowled Rohit Sharma
without scoring to claim his maiden Test wicket.