Saha helps India post 316 in 1st innings

Kolkata: Wriddhiman Saha added gloss to his growing reputation of scoring vital runs in the lower-order as India rode his brilliant half-century to post 316 in the first innings of the second Test against New Zealand at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

At lunch, New Zealand were 21/2 after five overs. Stand-in captain Ross Taylor was batting on 2 while Henry Nicolls was unbeaten on 1.

Saha remained unbeaten on 54 (85b, 4×7, 6×2) as the hosts recovered from an early jolt on day one to put up a par total on a trying wicket. For the visitors, pacer Matt Henry was the pick of the bowlers returning figures of 3/46 with Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Jeetan Patel bagging two wickets each.

The local boy looked in fine touch from the outset caressing the second ball of the day through covers for four elegantly. The diminutive stumper never looked back taking the Kiwi attack to the cleaners.

Preferring the off-side, Saha hit seven fours and two sixes en route to his half-century which he scored in 109 minutes.

In the fear of running out of partners, Saha upped the ante as soon as the other overnight batsman Ravindra Jadeja fell for 14.

The flamboyant Jadeja hit the first six of the match but was soon caught in the rivals’ web. The southpaw ignored the two fielders on the leg side to tonk Mitchell Santner over deep mid-wicket. But his stay at the crease was short-lived as in the next over the Saurashtra allrounder took on a short ball hooking it straight to long leg.

The partnership of 41 for the eighth wicket was broken and the visitors had again picked up a wicket just when the duo were starting to look good. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami did not last long falling to Santner and Trent Boult, respectively, as the Indian essay folded 87 minutes into the morning session.

New Zealand batsmen struggled to cope with the swing and guile of Bhuvneshwar and Shami as both openers fell in quick succession. While Tom Latham (1) played around his stumps to a Shami delivery coming angled into the stumps off the seam to be adjudged leg before wicket, Martin Guptill (13) was caught in two minds, dragging the ball to his stumps.