Kyle Jamieson (3/38), and Tim Southee (1/30) made crucial strikes as New Zealand clawed back in the second session of the first Test at the Green Park Stadium here on Thursday. At tea, India were 154/4 in 56 overs with debutant Shreyas Iyer (batting on 17 off 55 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (6 off 13 balls) at the crease.
Jamieson struck on the sixth ball post lunch break, ending the 61-run partnership for the second wicket as Shubman Gill inside-edged a full nip-backer to his stumps. Though Jamieson troubled Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the duo eventually swatted him for a boundary each through off-side in the 34th over.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel continued to leak runs as Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara took a boundary each off him in the 37th over. But in the next over, Tim Southee had his first wicket of the match as Pujara pressed forward to defend outside the off-stump, only for the ball to take an outer edge to the keeper for a clean low catch.
Post 'ujara's dismissal, Rahane hit some crisp boundaries through the off-side, with the one through cover off Jamieson being the standout. But in the 50th over, the tall pacer had the last laugh as Rahane chopped onto his stumps, undone by the low bounce.
Iyer, who was almost caught out while going for a big shot early in the innings, got two boundaries and survived a close lbw shout off off-spinner William Somerville as well. He and Jadeja have a huge task on their hands in lifting India to a safe score in the final session.
New Zealand, on the other hand, will be happy with their showings in the second session. But the Kiwis will be worried abo't Southee's availability after he walked off the field midway through an over. They will also want their spinners to be more accurate as the pitch continues to play tricks.
Earlier, India had made a good start thanks to opener Shubhman Gill's half-century (52 not out off 87 balls) that steered India to 82/1 at lunch.
After Rahane elected to bat first, Gill survived a chance in the third over as Southee had him lbw but the right-hander got to reverse the decision as replays showed a big inside edge.
Jamieson, who constantly probed the off-stump channel, got his first wicket on Indian soil as Mayank Agarwal (13) nicked behind to keeper Tom Blundell in the eighth over.
Post Agarwal's fall, Gill saw off the tricky period from Southee and Jamieson. He had luck on his side at six in escaping an lbw shout in the first over of Ajaz Patel. From there, Gill tore into Patel, taking him for four fours and oozed confidence in smashing the left-arm spinner for a straight six. Pujara, on the other hand, kept playing the second fiddle while seeing an impressive Gill attack from the other end.
However, he could not build on to his good start and failed to put up a big total, leaving India in a difficult position in a Test in which they would have liked to put up a substantial total in the first innings, giving their spinners some leeway to work their magic.
Brief scores (at tea): India 154/4 in 56 overs (Shubman Gill 52, Ajinkya Rahane 35, Kyle Jamieson 3/38, Tim Southee 1/30) against New Zealand