Black Caps in the fight after opening day

New Zealand fought hard to stay in the game on day one of the first Test against India at Green Park in Kanpur on Thursday.

India won the toss and elected to bat on a surface that already had clearly visible cracks on it looking to pile up the runs before batting becomes exceedingly difficult.

India seemed to be having it all their own way and despite losing KL Rahul shortly after the first hour reached lunch with one wicket down and 105 runs on the board.

The pitch was on the slow side in the morning but was otherwise quite well behaved with no variable bounce or freakish turn.

New Zealand mounted a firm fightback in the second session though, India added 80 runs for the loss of three wickets.

Mitchell Santner got the breakthrough when he caught Cheteshwar Pujara off his own bowling for 62, shortly afterwards Neil Wagner got the dangerman Virat Kohli (9) cheaply and India were 167 for 3.

Vitally Ish Sodhi removed Murali Vijay (65) when the opener looked well set to swing the second session firmly in New Zealand’s favour.

India went to tea at 185/4 and if the second session was shaded by New Zealand then the tourists dominated the third as India crumbled faster than the dusty wicket in Kanpur.

India put on 106 runs after tea losing five wickets. Ajinkya Rahane (18) became Mark Craig’s 49th Test victim shortly after tea, the off spinner tossed one up at an awkward length and had India’s vice-captain caught at short leg.

Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin then briefly steadied the ship putting on 52 before the former threw his wicket away for the umpteenth time in his Test career, chipping Santner to long on.

Trent Boult then pushed his claim to join Mitchell Starc and Dale Steyn as seamers who can take wickets in all conditions, as he whipped out Ashwin (40) before producing a brace of unplayable deliveries to bowl both Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammad Shami for ducks.

India limped to 291 for 9 at the close of play but with the pitch rapidly deteriorating the runs they were able to get in the morning session may prove to be the difference between the two sides when all is said and done.