Newbie Shreyas Iyer had guts, aggression and flair came together in a 75 unbeaten move which was nothing short of a baptism of fire, as India went finished at 258 for four on day one of the opening test against New Zealand here Thursday. On terrain that had variable rebound and didn’t provide enough pace, Iyer did his best against 136 balls, hitting seven limits and two sixes on his very first day in office in the longest format. Arrived at 106 for 3 at the fall of the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara (26 out of 88 balls), the beginner, in half an hour, found the promising shot of his skipper Ajinkya Rahane (33 out of 65 balls) to stop while Kyle Jamieson (15.2-6-47-3) and Tim Southee (16.4-3-43-1) rocked the middle order by inspiring post-lunch spells.
But at 144 for 4, Iyer took over senior all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (50 batting, 100 balls) for the company as they resurrected innings, at the same time batting with great intent to keep the board. on board running.
Jadeja scored her 17th fifty test and made her trademark sword celebrations to the delight of the crowd. It is not known if Sunil Gavaskar, in presenting the Indian cap to Iyer, told him about a very special player.
Someone who had announced his arrival on this ground even 52 years in 1969 against Australia of Bill Lawry. There are very few Indian cricketers who have received pure love like Gavaskar’s illustrious brother-in-law, Gundappa Viswanath.
His hundred or so when he started out on this field is one of the most heartily told folklore of Indian cricket. They say every blade of grass in Green Park felt a punch in Viswanath’s shots and remembers him forever.
He may not be of Viswanath’s class, but from Thursday Green Park will also remember Iyer for once again proving the old concrete jungle by saying, “A good player, is a good player, is a good player. “
It doesn’t matter if you are from a T20 generation, what matters in the end is a good temperament to succeed at the highest level. Iyer has proven that all those hard yards put in during the Ranji Trophy and the 1,000-plus-run season he once had, have not been in vain.
It helped him that he wasn’t just looking to survive, but that he scored as there were shots fired, lap scoops, ground practices, and compelling cut shots.
There was Mumbai’s “khadoos” schooling in the way he played Jamieson and Southee cautiously. The longest six on Ajaz Patel left arm spinner, while giving him the load, was that of a vintage 50-over hitter and shuffle it to the off-stump to play the scoop turn of Rachin left arm spinner. Ravindra was straight from the IPL playbook. Iyer had it all and he was exposed.
It helped that Patel (21-6-78-0) and non-break bowler William Somerville (24-2-60-0) found no way to ease the pressure repeatedly created by the two pointers. .
Patel, who is literally playing a swing run from half a step to a full jump, either threw too short or gave the ball enough air to give hitters a chance to cut it or drop the ball. track to chase it from the length.
Shubman Gill (52 of 93 balls) did this with momentum before he died on a day when a hundred was there for the take and he looked good to hit the benchmark before Jamieson exposed the gap between his bat and his cushion.
But there was no stopping Iyer, who saved a strong leg before Sommerville’s call that turned out to be a referee call, was willing to wait for loose deliveries.
The unbroken 113-cycle partnership between Jadeja and Iyer could prove to be the winner in the final analysis. This is because if the Indian hitters struggled to score freely on a two-beat track, the Black Caps willow bearers, with very little experience with Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Jadeja in these conditions, will find this doubly difficult.
If Iyer’s first innings were the brightest point, returning man Gill brought the attack back to the opposing side in the first session also could not be seen in isolation.
This was a milestone that had been put in place by Gill and if Jamieson hadn’t played a beauty with the old ball, he should have completed what was supposed to be his first Test 100.
But more importantly, what Gill and Iyer did that day was send another warning signal to Pujara and Rahane, who are now on borrowed time.
Rahane was brought down by a weak rebound as he expected the ball from an almost 7ft tall Jamieson to rear up. With 12 tests without a big score (India might not beat twice), Rahane’s record is not very good for a substitute skipper.
Likewise, with Pujara being prevented from scoring by spinners, which younger players like Gill and Iyer have played freely, is an indicator that he either has to reinvent himself or that there are problems to wait for.
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