Kyle Jamieson shines but Black Caps struggle as India control opening day of first test

Publish Date
Friday, 26 November 2021, 9:31AM
AP

AP

By: Niall Anderson

If there were any lingering doubts about Kyle Jamieson being a flat-track bully, consider them quashed.

Jamieson was the Black Caps' standout – perhaps their only one – on the first day of the first test against India in Kanpur, taking 3-47 in his first taste of test cricket in Asia.

There had been fair questions posed about how Jamieson would fare in Indian conditions, with his staggering record in his first eight tests – 46 wickets at an average of 14 – coming in the bowler-friendly green-seamer conditions of New Zealand and England.

However, those questions were answered within Jamieson's first spell, where the 26-year-old showed he's going to be a force to be reckoned with worldwide.

Unfortunately for the Black Caps, Jamieson's brilliance wasn't matched by the rest of the Kiwi bowlers, who contributed 1-209 as India reached 258-4 at stumps, aided significantly by a unbroken 113-run stand between debutant Shreyas Iyer (75) and Ravindra Jadeja (50).

India had won the toss and opted to bat, with the Black Caps opting for three spinners – Rachin Ravindra edging out Mitchell Santner to join Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville - while Tim Southee got the second seam spot over Neil Wagner, and Will Young was picked to open.

And, despite the dreadful early morning smog coating the ground, the Black Caps started brightly.

Varying his line, length and seam positions, Jamieson had Indian openers Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill uncertain from his first over, and that indecisiveness saw Agarwal eventually offer a hesitant edge through to Tom Blundell behind the stumps.

That should have been New Zealand's second wicket, as Patel had trapped Gill lbw the over before, only to bizarrely pull out of his appeal, leaving Blundell as the only interested party. Replays on the stadium big screen the following over displayed Patel's mistake - a review would have sent Gill packing - and his pained reaction upon realisation he had missed a glorious opportunity.

Things didn't get much better for Patel, as he lost his line and length in a rare display of poor bowling from the usually tight and tidy left-armer.

Iyer took a particular liking to him as Patel ended with a rank return of 0-78 from 21 overs, while Ravindra's debut showed glimpses of promise, but the expected few loose deliveries suited Iyer's aggressive style. He rode that style, along with some luck, to reach stumps in sight of a debut century.

Against most predictions, New Zealand's four wickets came from their seamers. Southee's day started solidly and perked up after lunch with the key wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara, a scalp that reduced India to 106-3 after Jamieson had earlier sent Gill's stumps flying via an inside edge in the first over after lunch.

Gill, however, had reached 52 after Patel's non-appeal blunder when he was on six, and those extra 46 runs – and the early pressure therefore avoided by India's middle order – had given the hosts a solid platform.

That platform extended when Southee hobbled off with a groin issue, and while he returned to continue bowling 20 overs later, Iyer had used that time to settle.

Initially, Iyer had been troubled by Somerville, whose varied release points and crease positions had produced a tidy opening day (0-60 from 24 overs) with a few tough chances, but the occasional loose offerings from Ravindra (0-28 off seven) and then Patel, who took up a somewhat negative leg-stump line in the final session, allowed the debutant to start scoring freely.

All throughout, Jamieson was charging in, and he removed Ajinkya Rahane on 35 shortly before tea, causing the Indian captain to chop onto his stumps to keep the Black Caps right in the contest.

But that would be the last success for New Zealand – from 145-4, Iyer and Jadeja guided their team to stumps, with 104 of their unbroken 113-run stand coming in a dominant final session, and on a pitch already offering slow turn and inconsistent bounce, and with Southee's ongoing fitness to be monitored, the Black Caps already have the odds stacked against them.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission