India ready to pile pressure on NZ

Murali Vijay (Getty Images)
Murali Vijay (Getty Images)

Kanpur - Batsman Murali Vijay on Thursday said India had built a platform to pile on the pressure against New Zealand in the hosts' 500th Test match after he starred with the bat on the opening day in Kanpur.

After electing to bat on the first day of a three-match series, India looked set for a commanding total thanks to half-centuries from Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara but lost momentum late in the day to finish at 291 for nine.

Mitchell Santner and Trent Boult took three wickets each to stall India's surge after the hosts had at once stage been 154 for one.

Ravindra Jadeja on 16 and Umesh Yadav on eight were at the crease at close of play.

Opener Lokesh Rahul gave India a solid start before a 112-run second-wicket stand between Vijay, who scored 65, and Pujara, who contributed with 62.

Despite being pegged back, India would still be pleased to get around the 300-run mark on a turning track at Kanpur's Green Park stadium.

"We are in a good position, we have put runs on the board. What we have got to do now is go there and put pressure on them. It's a good total to play around with," Vijay told reporters.

"We have plans, the wicket is on the slower side and it is going to be difficult to score it's going to be difficult for them as well."

Santner broke the big partnership after getting Pujara caught and bowled as India lost three wickets in the second session of play.

Vijay continued to thwart the bowling attack as New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson kept the Indian batsmen guessing by juggling his pace and spin options.

His move paid off when medium-pacer Neil Wagner claimed Indian skipper Virat Kohli's scalp, caught at long-leg for nine after pulling at a bouncer.

New Zealand's leg-spinner Ish Sodhi also played a key role, claiming the wicket of Vijay, who had notched up his 13th Test fifty, just before the tea break.

Mark Craig joined forces with fellow spinners to get Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 18, trudging back to the pavilion early in the final session.

Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin did put together a 52-run partnership for the sixth wicket but their departure once again saw India lose their way.


Santner, who was given the second new ball along with Boult in the 81st over, struck soon to get the wicket of Rohit Sharma for 35.

Sharma, who had survived a strong lbw appeal against Craig earlier in his innings, played a mistimed shot to mid-on.

Ashwin scored a well-made 40 with the help of seven boundaries before falling to Boult.

India, who took tea at 185 for four, lost five wickets in the final session of play after managing 106 runs in 31 overs.

Santner, while praising the efforts of Vijay and Pujara, insisted that the visitors were also on a strong footing.

"After losing the toss, we were in a reasonable position. Our pacers did well to start with bouncers," Santner said.

"They batted well. Both Pujara and Vijay were quite positive. They had a plan against the spinners and they rotated the strike well."

Earlier Rahul's 39-ball 32 entertained the raucous home crowd in a carnival atmosphere.

A host of former Test captains including Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were in the crowd to celebrate the milestone match at the start of a packed season of international cricket for India.

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