Pujara, Kohli put India on top
Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Cheteshwar Pujara hit his maiden Test century and Virat Kohli chipped in with a half century to put India on top at Stumps on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand at Hyderabad.
Returning to the Indian team after 20 months since his last Test against South Africa in January 2011, Pujara quelled doubts over India’s fate post the Dravid-Laxman era with a composed century. Virat Kohli showed that his hunger to cement a place in the Test line up wasn’t satisfied yet, steadying the innings in a 125 run partnership with Pujara for the fourth wicket.
India lost Gautam Gambhir (22) not long after having won the toss and choosing to bat first. Virender Sehwag ensured India got a brisk start, hitting 47 off 41b before offering an easy catch to Martin Guptill at second slip off Doug Bracewell, leaving India at 77/2.
A remarkable slowdown followed as Sachin Tendulkar and Pujara looked to rebuild the innings. Trent Boult though produced a superb delivery to break through Tendulkar’s defense in the second session to reduce India to 125/3.
Virat Kohli joined Pujara and the duo played out the threatening looking pacers, taking runs off the spinners instead. Pujara stalled on 49, remaining there for nearly 3 overs before hitting a cracking boundary to reach his 50 off 119 balls just before Tea.
Pujara was dropped on 60, the only chance he offered but not the only one bungled by New Zealand in the day. Sehwag got a life earlier while Kohli and Dhoni were beneficiaries of drops from the NZ fielders later.
Kohli reached his 50 off 79b with a four that should have actually been caught in the slips and the pair accelerated after that with Pujara slamming a six off Kane Williamson. He raced through his second fifty off just another 50 balls but not before spending 2 overs in the 90s. In the meantime Kohli (57) played a loose shot to be caught at second slip off Chris Martin. Soon after Pujara reached his ton, Raina (3) nicked one from Jeetan Patel to be caught behind, leaving India at 260/5.
Dhoni (29*) and Pujara (119*) saw off the remaining overs, taking India to 307/5 at Stumps on Day 1.