Cricket: Black Caps dominated by skidding Indian pace

By Andrew Alderson at Eden Gardens

India's bowlers seized on variable bounce, skidding pace and a lack of New Zealand batting confidence to dominate the second day of the second test in Kolkata.

The crowd and the local players fed off each other to build pressure. After a sleepy Saturday start, the ground felt like The Colosseum by stumps.

The visitors' defence crumbled leaving them 128-7 in reply to the hosts' 316. Play was extended due to rain disrupting the middle and final sessions.

The best that could be gleaned from New Zealand's capitulation was that they avoided the follow-on.

Ross Taylor (36) and Luke Ronchi (35) delivered 62 runs of fourth-wicket cement to stabilise an early collapse, before both were dismissed. B-J Watling and Jeetan Patel battled to the close.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with five wickets for 33, and Mohammed Shami, one for 46, were the exceptional performers, capitalising on the New Zealanders' crease paralysis.

The scorecard included three lbws suffered by Tom Latham, Mitchell Santner and Ronchi.

Ronchi's appeared the only questionable decision. The ball pitched in line from Ravindra Jadeja but looked to be missing leg stump.

India's quicksilver bowling looked capable of slipping through the finest of cracks, which New Zealanders will struggle to plaster over by the second innings. Unpredictable bounce also looks set to haunt. One Ashwin grubber scooted through wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha's legs for four byes.

Taylor and Ronchi resurrected New Zealand's chances after lunch when they slumped to 23 for three within seven overs.

Latham was adjudged lbw to Shami, coming around the wicket and wide of the crease. It's the third time from three innings he has suffered that mode of dismissal in the series.

Martin Guptill's form woes continued as he shaped to leave a ball from Kumar. He failed to get his elbow out of the way and the ball cannoned into the stumps.

Henry Nicholls cut too close to his body and played on, also to Kumar.

Resuming at 239 for seven, India recouped any lost initiative by posting 77 more runs. An unbridled and unbeaten 54 from Saha was key. Matt Henry unleashed a monster when he gave the Indian wicketkeeper a Popeye-like bruise on his left forearm in the 90th over.

Saha might have also fed off the news that the Indian governing body, the BCCI, had doubled the players' test-match fees to make the format more financially attractive.

Currently India's players get approximately $14,400 per test; the board decided to increase that to $30,900. Whatever he digested with his breakfast was worth it.

The highlight for New Zealand was two catches by Henry on the boundary between long and fine legs.

Neil Wagner set Jadeja up for the hook, Henry obliged with a take as the rope loomed into view.

Trent Boult lured Shami into a similar stroke which saw Henry struggle to get the crosshairs locked on the ball as he ran to his right. Instinctively he threw out his mitts. The ball stuck as he went sprawling.

Each of the New Zealand bowlers took wickets, a fair reflection given each of their contributions to the cause.

Henry finished with the best figures of three for 46 from 20 overs.

- NZ Herald

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