Williamson, Latham torment India before rain brings early end to play

Tom Latham and Kane Williamson scored half-centuries to strengthen New Zealand’s position in the first Test despite a dogged pursuit by the Indian spinners. After restricting India to 318, New Zealand finished Day 2 at 152/1.

Kane Williamson, Tom Latham partnership, India v New Zealand first Test

Kane Williamson and Tom Latham frustrated Indian bowlers with an unbroken 117-run partnership on Friday.   -  V.V. Krishnan

Tom Latham and Kane Williamson scored half-centuries to strengthen New Zealand’s position in the first Test despite a dogged pursuit by the Indian spinners. A downpour before Tea brought an early end to the day's play after the visiting team had batted 47 overs and scored 152/1.

>Scoreboard and ball-by-ball details

As the cracks and rough patches became more prominent after the 35th over, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bothered the batsmen more. Latham and Williamson had a close shave each.

Latham, trying to sweep Jadeja in the 37th over, got an inside edge that bounced off his shoe. K. L. Rahul, at short leg, juggled the ball before catching it. The Indians leapt in joy. But the replays showed the ball brushing Rahul's helmet.

COACH TALK: >'Williamson and Latham played spin really well'

In the 43rd, Jadeja darted the ball outside off-stump and Williamson attempted to cut. Snicko sensed a slight sound as the ball went past his bat. But the umpire believed it wasn’t of the willow.

Ashwin floated the ball, forcing the batsmen forward on occasions. But the ball, albeit beating the batsmen, took the inside edge rarely. None soared to the fielders’ hands.

Virat Kohli frequently spat and rubbed a side of the ball to aid its reverse swing. It helped Umesh Yadav beat the batsmen but he couldn't get rid of them.

Jadeja thrilled in India’s brief stay in the morning, in which it sprinted to 318. In the first over of the day by Mitchell Santner, he danced down and hoisted him to the mid-off boundary. When Trent Boult bowled short, Jadeja dared to hook, albeit imperfectly. Another of Santner’s short of a length delivery was hoisted again, this time over the long-off rope.

Umesh Yadav, who blocked 25 balls, fell prey to Neil Wagner in the 26th. Wagner, resuming his short balls from yesterday, angled one into his ribs. Yadav tried protecting himself by blocking the ball towards the leg-side. But a flaw in timing and technique saw the ball kiss his gloves and soar to the wicket-keeper, ending the Indian innings.

New Zealand, as it would’ve expected, faced spin early in its innings. After giving an over each to Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav, captain Virat Kohli brought on Jadeja. He crowded the New Zealand batsmen with a leg-slip and short-leg. Jadeja, as he does most often, stuck to bowling on the stumps. There were a few lbw shouts and inside edges but with the turn less vigorous, the Kiwis weren’t alarmed.

But Yadav and Shami moved the ball as much as they could. Guptill was done in by Yadav’s inswinger that struck his front pad.

With the rain washing away 34 overs today, 98 overs of play is promised for tomorrow.