Ishant six-for rocks New Zealand

India

Fast bowler Ishant Sharma offered India's limited-overs selection food for thought, clinching six wickets on day one of the second and final Test match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Fast bowler Ishant Sharma offered India's limited-overs selection food for thought, clinching six wickets on day one of the second and final Test match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Dropped from the squads for the Asia Cup and World Twenty20 earlier this week, Ishant screamed to telling figures of six for 51 in a final total of 192 all out at the Basin Reserve.

Fellow fast bowler Mohammad Shami weighed in with a complementary haul of four for 70 – as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's choice to bowl first after winning a crucial toss was entirely vindicated.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan later ensured India a promising tally of 100 for two by moving to a steady 71 not out, which staved off the damage done by the left-handed Murali Vijay and in-form Cheteshwar Pujara's relatively early dismissals.

The hosts' batting order sported a new look in the absence of the veteran Ross Taylor, who is on paternity leave, and the addition of debutants Tom Latham and Jimmy Neesham.

The changes, however, did not pay off – as Latham endured a duck and Neesham's entry left the Black Caps minus the services of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi on a track that will later demand turn.

Sharma, as was the case in the series opener, which the Indians lost, was a force to be reckoned with. While his ODI and T20I form has brought plenty of criticism, there is little denying the talented right-armer's maturity in the longest format of the international game.

Screaming through the top order, thanks to sharp bounce and quickening lateral movement, Ishant – with Shami contributing too – reduced the hosts to 86 for six inside 36 overs.

First Test double-centurion Brendon McCullum and the dangerous Corey Anderson's cheap departures were particularly instrumental, while wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling joined Latham with a duck.

The Kiwis' final total, in fact, would have read considerably poorer – were it not for the defiant Kane Williamson's standalone 47 and aspiring all-rounder Tim Southee's late-order cameo of 32 – a trio of hefty sixes included.

The visitors' reply endured Vijay's odd lack of sound judgment, while Pujara contrived to perish lbw to fast bowler Trent Boult during the closing throes. Nightwatchman Sharma and Dhawan, then, dug deep to insist on no further wickets.

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