Bengaluru: Virat Kohli led India’s fightback with an unbeaten 93 after early strikes from the New Zealand pace duo of Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell had the hosts in a spot of bother in the second and final Test on Saturday.
India reached 283 for five in their first innings, replying to New Zealand’s 365, at stumps on the second day at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Kohli added 99 runs for the fifth wicket with left-hander Suresh Raina (55) and a further 104 for the unbroken sixth wicket with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (46 not out) to lift India out of trouble.
The 23-year-old right-hander hit 12 boundaries and a six on the way to his fifth half-century in Tests.
Bracewell dismissed experienced batsmen Virender Sehwag (43) and Sachin Tendulkar (17) in the afternoon session after India had lost Gautam Gambhir (two) and Cheteshwar Pujara (nine) to Southee before lunch.
Raina, 25, started the counter-attack and hit eight fours and a six to bring up his seventh fifty in test cricket but was lucky to survive a stumping chance when on 48. The third umpire ruled the delivery from off-spinner Jeetan Patel a no ball.
Southee, who was drafted in for the second test replacing pace colleague Chris Martin, dismissed Raina caught down the leg side in the final session to pick up his third wicket.
The innings had not started well for India with Gambhir, who looked uncomfortable during most of his short stay at the wicket, the first to be dismissed, clean bowled as he shouldered arms to an incoming delivery from Southee.
Pujara, a centurion in the last test in Hyderabad, was then caught at deep fine leg trying to hook Southee.
Sehwag hit eight boundaries and looked in good touch before he flicked one straight to mid-wicket off Bracewell in the first over after lunch.
Tendulkar hit a glorious straight drive past Bracewell, one of his three fours, but on the very next delivery the New Zealander had his revenge by clean bowling the “Little Master”.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha took his third five-wicket haul to halt New Zealand’s progress.
The visitors, who opted to bat first after winning the toss, had added just 37 runs to their overnight score of 328 for six before India wrapped up the innings 45 minutes into the morning session.
The first wicket to fall came when Raina took a diving catch at second slip off paceman Zaheer Khan to end an entertaining knock from wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk for 71.
Van Wyk added 99 for the seventh wicket with Bracewell, who was unlucky to be run out for 43 when the ball burst through Zaheer’s hand to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end with the batsman short of his crease.
The partnership helped New Zealand get past the 350-run mark, an improvement after they made 159 and 164 in their two innings in losing the opening test in Hyderabad by an innings and 115 runs.
Ojha, who had taken four wickets on Friday, polished off the New Zealand innings by dismissing Southee leg before for 14.