India vs New Zealand: Williamson and Latham keep India at bay


Indian bowlers toiled hard without much success as New Zealand came up with a resolute performance to be 152/1 before rain washed out the final session on the second day of the opening cricket Test here today.

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

The score did not change after as rain rendered the field unplayable. New Zealand are trailing by 166 runs.

The match could not be re-started in the absence of a super-sopper. To make up for the lost time, the third day’s play will begin at 9:15 am tomorrow to ensure that 98 overs are bowled.

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 an individual 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 grill before KL Rahul caught the ball.