Shreyas Iyer continued to make his debut Test match memorable with an important knock of 65 in the second innings as India made 167/7 at tea on day four of the first Test against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium on Sunday.
Just when India looked to finish the second session on a strong note, Iyer was removed by Tim Southee to leave the match interestingly poised with the hosts having a lead of 216.
India had a great start to the second session as Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin continued to collect boundaries, taking their partnership for the sixth wicket past fifty. Kyle Jamieson struck on the second ball of his first over, ending Ashwin's gritty stay at the crease with a back of a length delivery rolling to the stumps after ricocheting off his front pad.
Post Ashwin's fall, New Zealand kept things tight till Wriddhiman Saha took a four (sweep) and six (slog-sweep) off William Somerville in the 49th over. Iyer, who had kept a cautious eye while defending and rotating the strike, stepped out to smash Ajaz Patel for a six down the ground. Iyer then reached his half-century in 109 balls, becoming the first Indian batter to get a century in the first innings and then follow it up with a half-century in second innings on debut.
Iyer continued to impress by hitting two boundaries off Patel as New Zealand's spinners lacked the penetration to keep the pressure on India. Against Southee, Iyer stroked the first ball through mid-wicket. But on the next ball, the 64-run stand was brought to an end at the stroke of tea. Iyer tried to pull Southee but an inner edge off the glove went behind to Blundell, bringing an end to a super knock.
Earlier, New Zealand made inroads through India's batting, leaving the hosts at 51/5 in 19.4 overs. Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal added 18 runs to overnight score of 14/1, as New Zealand were a little loose.
The tourists corrected themselves quickly as Kyle Jamieson scalped the first wicket of the day in the 12th over, taking out Pujara with a short ball going down leg, which he gloved behind to keeper Tom Blundell. Initially given not out, New Zealand reviewed the decision which was overturned after replays confirmed the glove edge.
Ajinkya Rahane drove Ajaz Patel through extra cover in the 15th over. But on the next ball, Patel had the last laugh, trapping Rahane plumb in front of the wicket with a quick slider. Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer hit a streaky boundary each until Tim Southee joined the wicket-taking party.
Southee was rewarded for his nagging spell with a double-wicket maiden in the 20th over. He first enticed Agarwal to come forward, forcing a thick outer edge off his bat to second slip with Tom Latham completing the catch.
Two balls later, Southee trapped Ravindra Jadeja lbw with an inswinger for duck. Jadeja took the review but replays showed the ball crashing into the leg-stump.
Brief Scores: India 345 (Shreyas Iyer 105; Tim Southee 5/69) and 167/7 in 60.2 overs (Shreyas Iyer 65, Ravichandran Ashwin 32; Kyle Jamieson 3/26, Tim Southee 3/48) vs New Zealand 296 in 142.3 overs (Tom Latham 95; Axar Patel 5/62). India lead by 216 runs.