Shreyas Iyer became the first Indian to score a century and half-century on debut as India stayed in command of the first Test on Day 4 at Kanpur. Iyer's 65 and Wriddhiman Saha's fighting 61* ensured India could post a strong 234-7 (decl.) on board in the second innings to extend their lead to 283 runs. NZ were one down for 4 runs before bad light stopped play for the fourth consecutive day.
The Indians will be pretty satisfied with the way the day turned out. Even though the top order disappointed again, with the likes of Mayank Agarwal (17) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (4) failing to make it count yet again, Iyer and Saha's resilience surely won many hearts.
Also deserves mention is Ravichandran Ashwin whose commendable effort with the bat (32 off 62) yet again rescued India when they looked in trouble. India were 51/5 when Ashwin walked in to bat. With Ashwin and Iyer, who was continuing his exquisite form, India added a crucial 52 runs stand for the sixth wicket.
After losing early wickets on Day 4, @ShreyasIyer15 and @ashwinravi99 steady ship for #TeamIndia with a fine 50-run partnership.— BCCI (@BCCI) November 28, 2021
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After Ashwin's dismissal, India counted on two more crucial partnerships - one between Iyer and Saha (64) and the other between Saha and Axar Patel (67*). Saha was particularly very impressive as he cotinued to grind it out with a stiff neck. Patel's contribution of 28 runs off 67 balls went on to show what a phenomenal all-rounder he is shaping up as.
India's 283-run lead, at this moment, looks quite a daunting one to chase down on a track that continues to go low on bounce. Even though the Indian tail did well to fend off the Kiwi bowlers today, scoring these many runs on the final day might be a tough ask. In fact, the tallest target that any team has chased down in the last innings playing in India is 276 runs (West Indies beat India in 1987).
New Zealand will be disappointed with the way the 4 overs went in their batting. It was never easy to bat under fading lights but what would perhaps upset them the most is Will Young's delayed response to review his LBW dismissal. They have a long day tomorrow and it looks like only a very stubborn batting display can save them the match.