New Delhi: It was not ideal preparation, but New Zealand made good use of their time in the middle against a mediocre Mumbai attack on day one of their only warm-up match ahead of the three-Test series against India.
With the pitch having a thin grass cover, the ball did not spin much, allowing the visiting batsmen to bat freely. Captain Kane Williamson (50 off 56 balls) had a comfortable stay at the crease, as did opener Tom Latham (55 off 97), Ross Taylor (41 off 57) and Mitchell Santner (45 off 59). New Zealand declared their first innings at 324 for seven with an hour left for stumps.
Mumbai, in response, were 29 for one in 13 overs, with the talented Arman Jaffer (24) and Kaustubh Pawar (5) at the crease when stumps were drawn. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult sent opener Jay Bista (0) back caught behind with a sharp rising delivery.
The stand out bowler for Mumbai was Balwinder Sandhu Jr, who took two wickets with his gentle medium pace. The bowling otherwise was pedestrian, especially the spin trio of Vishal Dabholkar, Siddhesh Lad and Vijay Gohil, who hardly troubled the opposition batsmen.
While the visitors did not get to face quality spin, like what they would be confronted with in the Test series, it was a fruitful outing in terms of getting used to the hot and humid conditions. As many as nine batsmen got a hit in the middle with all
15 of the squad members allowed to play in the game.
The first session was entertaining for a handful of cricket fans at the Feroz Shah Kotla, as New Zealand reached 117 for two at lunch in 26 overs. After Sandhu dismissed out-of-form opener Martin Guptill, caught behind with an outswinger, Williamson and Latham shared a quick 85-run partnership. Williamson scored the bulk of the runs in the second-wicket stand and found it easy against the spin, especially left-arm orthodox Dabholkar, who ended up with expensive figures of 75 for one from 14 overs.
The visitors' captain collected six fours and couple of sixes before falling to Sandhu at the stroke of lunch. Southpaw Latham then got into the act alongside the experienced Taylor, who hit a flurry of cut shots to go with a couple of big hits.
After Latham retired out and Taylor was out LBW to Gohil, Henry Nicholls (29), BJ Watling (21 retired out), Mark Craig (33 not out) and Ish Sodhi (29 not out) spent decent time in the middle.
Specialist spinners Craig and Sodhi got some handy batting practice as they shared an unbeaten 43-run stand before the declaration. Of the 75 overs in the New Zealand innings, 49 were bowled by spinners, albeit with little success. Two of the four spinners who got to bowl — Gohil and Parikshit Valsangkar — are yet to feature in a first-class game.
Rohit Sharma, battling for a place in the Test side, came out to field for a little while. He is expected to bat on Saturday.