India vs New Zealand: Kane Williamson, Tom Latham defy spin threat to give Black Caps the edge
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India vs New Zealand: Kane Williamson, Tom Latham defy spin threat to give Black Caps the edge on Day 2


Kanpur: Indian bowlers toiled hard without much success, as New Zealand came up with a resolute performance to reach 152/1 before rain washed out the final session on day two of the opening Test on Friday.

Resuming at 291/9, India were bowled out for 318 in the morning session and in response, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (65) and Tom Latham (56) struck defiant half-centuries to take the visitors to 152 for one at the stroke of tea when the heavens opened up.

Rain rendered the field unplayable, and New Zealand went to stumps trailing by 166 runs. The match could not be restarted in the absence of a super-sopper. To make up for lost time, the third day's play will begin at 9:15 am on Saturday to ensure that 98 overs are bowled.

Kane Williamson and Tom Latham put up an unbroken stand of 117 for the second wicket. AP

Kane Williamson and Tom Latham put up an unbroken stand of 117 for the second wicket. AP

Before the downpour, however, the Kiwis exhibited steely resolve with Williamson and Latham combining for a 117-run stand for the second wicket.

Williamson took 115 balls for his 66, that had seven boundaries in it, while southpaw Latham faced 137 balls, hitting five shots to the fence in the process.

The two Kiwi batsmen were hardly troubled by either Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja on a Green Park track, which did not offer much assistance to the spinners. Except for the last few overs, the two Kiwi batsmen remained untroubled even though they survived a few appeals and two specific incidents where they almost lost their wickets.

Williamson swept Ashwin often and also stayed on the backfoot, waiting for the balls to decide his stroke. Latham also remained solid against both the spinners and pacers.

The visiting captain survived when he tried to sweep Ashwin, missed the ball that hit him on the back of the helmet, taking off the flap, which hit the stumps but bails were not dislodged. It happened in the 32nd over when he was on a score of 39.

With strike bowlers not making any impact, Kohli asked part-timer Murali Vijay to bowl his off-breaks. He almost got Latham on a full toss, which the batsman missed and was struck on the pads, but umpire shot down the desperate vociferous appeal for LBW.

This was after Murali beat both the left-handed batsmen and wicker-keeper Saha with a turning ball to concede four byes. There was more drama in the next over when Latham swept Jadeja from outside off stump and the inside edge bounced off his shoes to forward short leg fielder. However, the TV umpire ruled him not out since the ball had touched the helmet grille before KL Rahul caught the ball.

Latham completed his eighth Test fifty in the next over by guiding a Ashwin delivery to covers for a couple. Williamson also completed his 23rd Test half-century with a single off Jadeja.

Williamson scored at a decent pace as his fifty came off just 78 balls with five boundaries.

In the first session, resuming at 291 for nine, Jadeja (42 not out) unleashed a few boundaries to take India past the 300-run mark as he added 41 runs for the last wicket with Yadav (9).

The left-hander countered the short balls from Trent Boult with pull shots and used his feet well against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner. India added 27 more runs to their overnight total before Yadav was caught by BJ Watling off paceman Neil Wagner.

When India bowled, Jadeja was introduced into the attack by Kohli as early as in the third over of the Kiwi innings, but neither him nor Ashwin could get a wicket. The left-arm spinner bowled with four close-in fielders, to put the visiting batsmen under pressure.

Kohli took off Umesh Yadav after just one over but persisted with Mohammed Shami from one end. Shami kept bowling at a teasing outside-off-stump line, keeping the Kiwis under check.

Yadav was brought back and he immediately struck by trapping Guptill (21) in front of the wicket with a ball that swung in. Guptill's awful run, hence, continued. He has managed only one half-century in his last seven innings now.

A few boundaries were scored when Guptill was at the crease but runs mostly came in ones and twos with Williamson and Latham batting cautiously.

The 50 of New Zealand innings came in the 15th over when Latham swept Ashwin for a single. Williamson's first boundary was a sweep shot going over the field to mid-wicket region off Ashwin and later he dispatched the same bowler to leg-side boundary off a full toss.

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