NZ vs Ind Tour Game: Visitors take positives from draw
After a disappointing ODI series against New Zealand, Indians were up against the New Zealand XI in a 2-day practice game just before the Test series, which yielded much needed useful runs for the batsmen on Monday at Whangarei.
New Zealand XI elected to bat first on Day 1, and their openers were off to a good start straightaway. Robert O' Donnell and George Worker added 81 runs for the 1st wicket, before India's R Ashwin got rid of the latter. O' Donnell went on to score a half-century from one end as a couple of wickets fell at the other. He was then dismissed for a well-made 80 by Ishant Sharma. The middle order found strength in Jono Hickey, who scored a crucial 45 before he fell to Sharma. A typical collapse for the order of the day, as batsmen departed in single digits. A fighting innings of 34 from Roald Badenhorst helped NZ XI cross the 250-run mark. The hosts declared on 262/9.
Indians started steadily, with openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan taking their time to settle at the crease. Vijay was then clean bowled by Ili Tugaga, followed by Dhawan who was run-out. However, Cheteshwar Pujar (33) in company with stand-in captain Rohit Sharma (59) steadied the Indian ship. While Pujara was trapped plumb, Sharma completed his fifty before he was retired out. Ajinkya Rahane came in and hit a confident 60 that included 5 fours and 1 six, following which he was retired out as well. Ambati Rayudu found some form as well, scoring 49 important runs. It wasn't just the middle-order, but also the tail that benefited from this game. R Ashwin was at his best with the bat, chipping in with 46 runs (6 fours, 2 sixes).
The Indians finished with 331 runs on the board, which eventually led to a draw on Day 2.