Shreyas Iyer in action in India’s second innings in 1st Test against New Zealand in Kanpur© AFP
Shreyas Iyer pushed his class down on the fourth day of the first Test between India and New Zealand when he pulled the hosts out of a deep hole with a fine shot of 65 runs in the second innings. India’s top order crumbled on the fourth day after the bowlers gave the hosts a handy 49-run lead by kicking off New Zealand for 296 in the first innings. Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson made Ajinkya Rahane’s team falter on 51/5 when Shreyas stitched an important 53-run stand with Ravichandran Ashwin to take India’s overall lead beyond the 150 runs.
After Ashwin’s dismissal, Shreyas continued to play meaningfully with wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha. After it was completed, both batsmen took calculated risks against the spinners to get away from important boundaries. Shreyas reached his half-century to become the first Indian batsman ever in the history of Test cricket to score a century and a fifty on debut. He became the 16th Indian to hit a century on his debut in the first innings.
Shreyas was finally suspended for 67 when he received a dull glove after a short ball from Southee that he tried to pull. His stand of 64 runs with Saha took India beyond the overall lead of 200 runs.
Shreyas hit 8 magnificent boundaries and a six in the second innings and showed great maturity at a time when senior batsmen like Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara could not succeed.
With this knock, Shreyas made it difficult for the team management to decide who to drop and who to keep for the second Test match, when regular captain Virat Kohli returns.
For now, the team’s focus will be on getting as many runs as possible in the final session and then making a turn at the Kiwis.
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