Taylor flays India attack

2012-08-31 18:06

BANGALORE, India, Aug 31, 2012 (AFP) -Ross Taylor put India's attack to the sword with a robust century as New Zealand posted 328-6 at stumps on the opening day of the second and final Test in Bangalore on Friday.

The skipper, who promised ahead of the Test that his team would play attacking cricket against Indian spinners, led from the front with an aggressive 127-ball 113, smashing two sixes and 16 fours in his seventh Test hundred.

Wicket-keeper Kruger van Wyk hit an 85-ball 63 not out for his maiden Test half-century, while opener Martin Guptill cracked a 79-ball 53. Doug Bracewell was unbeaten on 30 when play was called off due to bad light and rain.

Bracewell and van Wyk have so far put on 82 for the unfinished seventh-wicket stand.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who opened the attack in overcast conditions, was the most successful bowler with 4-90.

"Ross is a class player and some of the shots he played were really special. We always come out and play positive cricket. Luckily for us, the plan worked out and we got enough number of boundaries early on in the innings," said Guptill.

"We have to keep up the positive intent. If we put 400-450 on the board and attack them then it's going to put some pressure on India.

"There is a bit of swing and seam on this wicket and if we can pick up a few wickets early on, it'll be great."

Taylor completed his hundred in style, cutting Ojha for a four and then lofting the spinner over long-off in the same over for his second six. His century came off just 99 balls.

He was out lbw while attempting to sweep Ojha soon after the tea-break.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Ojha, who shared 18 wickets in India's victory by an innings and 115 runs in the opening Test in Hyderabad, had to work hard for success on a good batting track.

New Zealand, who collapsed to 159 in their first innings and 164 in the second at Hyderabad, put in an improved batting performance, thanks to Taylor's brilliant knock.

New Zealand were under pressure at 89-3 following Ojha's double-strike in the morning, but Taylor propped up the innings with a 107-run stand for the fourth wicket with Daniel Flynn (33).

Taylor counter-attacked to neutralise the Indian spinners, slog-sweeping Ashwin over square-leg for the first six of the match and then smashing four boundaries in an over from Ojha.

"I was ready for it (open the bowling). The ball was new and it was difficult to grip it. I was just sticking to basics and making the batsman play each ball," said Ojha.

"It was a good first-day wicket and they were trying to be aggressive. I think that was their game plan. I think taking six wickets on this kind of a pitch was a good effort."

The New Zealand captain, who reached his half-century off just 46 balls, also drove paceman Zaheer Khan through the covers and then straight for two successive fours.

New Zealand lost two wickets in the afternoon as Flynn fell lbw while attempting to sweep Ashwin and James Franklin (eight) was superbly caught by Suresh Raina at mid-wicket off Ojha.

Ojha earlier removed Kane Williamson (17) and Guptill to put pressure on New Zealand, but Taylor dominated the Indian attack with an exciting strokeplay in the afternoon.

New Zealand lost opener Brendon McCullum for no score in the second over after electing to bat, before Guptill and Williamson steadied the innings with a 63-run stand for the second wicket.

But Ojha dismissed both the batsmen, trapping Williamson leg-before and then having Guptill caught by Gautam Gambhir at mid-wicket.

Guptill, dropped on 17 by Virat Kohli at third slip off Zaheer, hit eight fours in his 12th Test half-century in 26 matches.

The New Zealand opener played some attractive shots, hitting seamer Umesh Yadav for three fours in an over and then reaching his half-century with a boundary in the bowler's next over.

India retained their side, while New Zealand brought in paceman Tim Southee in place of Chris Martin.