Auckland - Centuries for Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson lifted New
Zealand off the ropes and into a position of command on the opening day
of the first Test against India.
Captain McCullum posted his
eighth Test hundred soon after tea on Thursday and Williamson followed
two overs later with his fifth as New Zealand progressed to 329-4 at
Williamson was eventually removed for 113 and at stumps
McCullum was unbeaten on 143 with Corey Anderson on 42 in a 78-run stand
for the fifth wicket.
McCullum and Williamson came together when
New Zealand were in trouble at 30-3 after being sent into bat on a
bowler-friendly Eden Park wicket.
The heavy cloud cover and
green-topped wicket were ripe for the Indian bowlers who made the most
of the conditions and runs proved difficult to obtain as New Zealand
struggled to reach 54-3 by lunch.
But when the sun broke through
after the break and the track flattened out into a good batting strip,
McCullum and Williamson stole the initiative away from India in a
221-run stand for the fourth wicket.
They batted with confidence
as Williamson notched his 50 with a top-edge for six and McCullum
cleared the rope for his hundred when he belted Ravindra Jadeja over the
McCullum's innings so far contains 18 fours
and two sixes while the more textbook approach of Williamson produced 10
fours and two sixes.
Both batsmen also took risks and offered
chances. Murali Vijay at first slip dropped a sitter from Williamson on
32 and Shikhar Dhawan put down McCullum on 102.
Early in the day
Dhawan dropped Peter Fulton on one, although the damage was not as
severe as with the McCullum miss as the New Zealand opener only made 13
before he was rapped on the pads by Zaheer Khan.
That was when the Indian pace men were dominating as they found plenty of movement to trouble the batsmen.
Sharma was the first to strike when he teased Hamish Rutherford (six)
with deliveries that angled away until the left-hander slashed and
caught an edge which was well taken by Ajinkya Rahane in the gully.
also claimed Ross Taylor, who had provided the backbone of the New
Zealand batting in recent months but looked uncomfortable against the
Taylor made three off 15 deliveries before driving Sharma to Jadeja at mid-off for an early return to the pavilion.
earned the most respect among the Indian bowlers and finished the day
with two for 62 while Zaheer Khan proved expensive with two for 98.