BANGALORE: 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 here today.
India reached 283-5 in their first innings, replying to New Zealand’s 365, at stumps on the second day. Kohli added 99 runs for the fifth wicket with left-handed 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-handed 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.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha took his third five-wicket haul to halt New Zealand’s progress. The visitors had added just 37 runs to their overnight score of 328-6 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 Kruger van Wyk (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. 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 the wicket for 14 runs.