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18 April 2024

Sharma's career-best haul gives India upper hand

India's Ishant Sharma (second right) celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand's Tom Latham during day one of the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, February 14, 2014. (REUTERS)

By Reuters

India consolidated their advantage after paceman Ishant Sharma's career-best six-wicket haul, reaching 100 for two at the close of play on the first day of the second test against New Zealand on Friday.

Ishant was the pick of India's bowlers, who were given first use of the green and bouncy Basin Reserve wicket after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won his seventh successive toss.

The tall right-armer took six for 51 and helped bowl the hosts out for 192 after tea. Mohammed Shami provided admirable support with 4-70.

Shikhar Dhawan was on 71 and Ishant, sent in as nightwatchman after Chesteshwar Pujara was out for 19, was three not out at the close.

"It was a bit of a mixed day, losing the toss and getting put in wasn't in the plan," New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham told RadioSport.

"I thought we did all right to get to 180 to give us something to bowl at but they batted quite well there.

"I think slightly," he added when asked if India had the advantage at the end of the day.

"We know that from the West Indies test that wickets tend to get lost in clumps.

"There is still a bit in it and hopefully it will keep swinging tomorrow."

Kane Williamson top scored with 47 for New Zealand after being dismissed three times and recalled twice due to no-balls. Neesham (33) and Southee (32) provided cameos towards the end.

Williamson was given out once to Zaheer Khan in the final over before lunch on 15 and then again on 23 when Pujara took a good catch at forward short leg off Ishant during the afternoon session.

Both times, however, television replays showed the bowler had overstepped the mark.


Dhoni had earlier wasted little time asking the hosts to bat on the green wicket.

Although openers Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton made a breezy start with seemingly little assistance for Zaheer and Shami, the introduction of Ishant changed the game as he bowled with hostility and forced the batsmen to play.

He destroyed New Zealand's top order with three wickets in 14 balls, dismissing Rutherford (12), Fulton (13) and debutant Tom Latham for a duck to leave the hosts floundering at 26 for three.

Their troubles deepened shortly before lunch when captain Brendon McCullum was well caught at mid-off by Ravindra Jadeja when driving at a full Mohammed Shami delivery.

New Zealand tried to fight back in the afternoon session with Corey Anderson (24) and debutant Neesham helping the hosts past 150.

Their resistance ended after tea, however, when Ishant took his sixth wicket, having Southee caught behind for a 32, and Shami had Trent Boult pop a short delivery to Pujara to end the innings.

New Zealand hold a 1-0 lead in the two-match series after their 40-run victory at Eden Park in the first game.