Iyer impresses as India leave New Zealand facing uphill struggle

By Sports Desk November 25, 2021

Shreyas Iyer marked his Test debut with 75 not out as India held the upper hand by reaching 258-4 at stumps on day one against New Zealand.

Following 54 appearances in limited-overs internationals for his country, Iyer was given the opportunity in the long format and showed he has what it takes in this first game of a two-match series.

The 26-year-old shared an unbroken 113-run fifth-wicket partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, who scrambled a single in the fading light to end the day on 50 not out.

Their commanding batting meant India did not lose a wicket after tea, scoring 104 runs in 28 overs, with Iyer striking a six off William Somerville in the final over of the day.

It was his second maximum of the innings to go with seven fours, giving India a strong platform from which to build on Friday.

Kyle Jamieson was the pick of New Zealand's attack with 3-47 and said India were "maybe a fraction ahead".

He bowled India opener Shubman Gill for 52, having earlier had Mayank Agarwal (13) caught behind, then got lucky when India captain Ajinkya Rahane played on to go for 35.

Cheteshwar Pujara was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell off Tim Southee for 26, but Iyer and Jadeja's solid union meant India finished the day on top at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.

Jamieson told Sky Sports: "Hopefully the new ball swings a little in the morning and we can take a few, but at the same time there's two really classy guys in the middle and there's still some batters to come, so we'll have to be on our game tomorrow morning.

"I think we've hung around pretty good. To have them four down, certainly we'd have liked another one or two more, but if we have a good start early tomorrow morning we're still in a pretty good position."


Iyer in good company

As he navigated his way three quarters of the way to a century, Iyer found capable and experienced company at the other end. Jadeja is one of just five India players to have reached 200 Test wickets and 2,000 runs in the long format, and he now has 17 fifties alongside a lone Test century. Iyer became India's 63rd debutant to post a half-century, and he could become the 22nd newcomer to make three figures.

Not the only new face

As Iyer caught the eye, India Test debutant Rachin Ravindra found it altogether more tricky to make an impact. In seven overs of his left-arm spin, the 22-year-old Ravindra failed to make a breakthrough, giving away 28 runs.

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