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Patient Pujara holds firm for India

Batsman hits slow half century in crucial partnership with Kohli as hosts reach 182-3

  • AP
    Virat Kohli congratulates Cheteshwar Pujara on his half century.Image Credit: AP
  • AP
    Virender Sehwag trudges off following his dismissalImage Credit: REUTERS
Gulf News

Hyderabad: Cheteshwar Pujara's patient half-century helped India overcome the loss of a trio of batting stalwarts and carried the hosts to 182 for three at tea on the first day of the opening Test against New Zealand on Thursday.

At the interval, Pujara (54) and Virat Kohli (32) were at the crease, having added a valuable 57 runs for the fourth wicket.

Right-handed Pujara and Suresh Raina were included in the India team as replacements for the retired middle-order batting duo of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

Walking in to bat at the number three spot vacated by Dravid, Pujara displayed a measured temperament akin to his predecessor and completed his second half-century in tests.

He hit six boundaries in his 121-ball knock with both Pujara and Kohli looking comfortable against the visitors' bowling.

The only wicket to fall in the afternoon session was that of batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who had hit two boundaries before he was clean bowled by left-arm seamer Trent Boult for 19.

The bowler was rewarded for his efforts when he got the ball to straighten after pitching and breached Tendulkar's defence to peg back his middle stump.

Earlier in the morning, openers Gautam Gambhir (22) and Virender Sehwag (47) put on 49 for the opening wicket to give India a flying start after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat.

Left-hander Gambhir was the first to depart when he edged Boult to wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk when trying to run the ball down to the third-man boundary.

Sehwag hit nine boundaries and survived two chances during his charmed 41-ball stay at the crease.

Daniel Flynn put down a difficult chance at square leg after the right-hander mistimed a pull off Chris Martin while an edge off Doug Bracewell flew between Van Wyk and captain Ross Taylor at first slip.

Bracewell finally got rid of the dangerous Sehwag after the batsman's attempted cut was snapped up by Martin Guptill at second slip.

The second match of the two-Test series starts in Bengaluru on August 31.