Hanuma Vihari’s gutsy hundred and the seasoned Cheteshwar Pujara’s 92 were the bright spots in an otherwise dreadful batting performance by India on the first day of their warm-up game against New Zealand XI here.
All the three designated openers — Mayank Agarwal (1), Prithvi Shaw (0) and Shubman Gill (0) — failed the seam and bounce test, falling cheaply.
With skipper Virat Kohli opting for an intense net session over the warm-up game, India managed only 263 with none apart from Vihari (101 retd. out)) and Pujara able to score even 20 runs on a Seddon Park track that had liberal grass covering.
What would worry the Indian team management was failure of all the three openers.
Shaw and Gill were undone by the extra bounce while Mayank failed to counter to seam movement.
Ajinkya Rahane (18) was out by the end of the first hour, edging one to the slips, before Vihari and Pujara stemmed the rot and got a 195-run stand.
Once they saw off Kuggeleijn’s first spell and the skiddy Blair Tickner, batting became easy in the second and third session. When the spinners were introduced, Pujara pulled Ish Sodhi over long-leg for a six while Vihari also hit three down the ground off left-arm spinner Ravindra.
India lost the last six wickets for 30 runs but what stuck out like a sore thumb was another shot selection by Rishabh Pant when he tried an ugly hoick off Sodhi’s bowling only to be caught by the man at extra-cover.
India — 1st innings: Prithvi Shaw c Ravindra b Kuggeleijn 0, Mayank Agarwal c Cleaver b Kuggeleijn 1, Cheteshwar Pujara c Cleaver b Gibson 92, Shubman Gill c Seifert b Kuggeleijn 0, Ajinkya Rahane c Bruce b Neesham 18, Hanuma Vihari (retd. out) 101, Rishabh Pant c Kuggeleijn b Sodhi 7, Wriddhiman Saha c Cleaver b Gibson 0, R. Ashwin lbw b Sodhi 0, Umesh Yadav (not out) 9, Ravindra Jadeja c Allen b Sodhi 8; Extras (b-8, lb-7, nb-9, w-3): 27; Total (in 78.5 overs): 263.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-5, 3-5, 4-38, 5-233, 6-245, 7-246, 8-246, 9-250.
New Zealand XI bowling: Scott Kuggeleijn 14-2-40-3, Blair Tickner 15-3-37-0, Daryl Mitchell 7-1-15-0, Jimmy Neesham 13-3-28-1, Jake Gibson 10-1-26-2, Ish Sodhi 14.5-0-72-3, Rachin Ravindra 5-1-30-0.