KANPUR, Sept 22: India began their historic 500th Test match on a disappointing note after they frittered away a solid start to be reduced to 291 for 9 on the opening day of the first cricket Test against New Zealand.
The hosts were comfortably placed at 154 for 1 at one stage riding on 112-run second wicket stand between Murali Vijay (65) and Cheteshwar Pujara (62) but lost the plot quite dramatically at the fag end of the day.
A disciplined bowling effort from the Black Caps complemented by some inept shot selection by middle and lower order saw four wickets falling for 16 runs after the second new ball was taken.
Rohit Sharma (35) once again got a start only to throw it away at the end of the day. Ravichandran Ashwin was well set before being dismissed to a brilliant delivery from Trent Boult.
While left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner (3/77) rocked the top-order, it was Boult, who looked menacing with the second new ball finishing with figures of 3/57 in 17 overs. All his wickets during the last 10 overs of the day.
Ravindra Jadeja was batting on 11 at the end of the day with Umesh Yadav (8).
The Green Park track was not a rank turner on the first day itself but it did offer some assistance to the spinners.
The Kiwis fielded three spinners � Santner, offie Mark Craig and leg-break bowler Ish Sodhi, who bowled 59 out of the 90 overs.
India were comfortably placed at 154 for 1 after losing KL Rahul (32) but lost four wickets in gap of 15 overs, spread over two sessions to get into the backfoot.
Rohit (35) and Ashwin (40) combined for a fighting 52�run stand for the sixth wicket.
In an important phase in his Test career, Rohit was expected to fire and he showed some early promise before trying to chip one off Santner over mid-on but was holed out by Sodhi.
The other two Indian batsmen who played poor shots were skipper Virat Kohli (9) who fell to Neil Wagner�s short ball mistiming a pull-shot.
Boult, in his final spell of the day, got rid of Ashwin, wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha (0) and Mohammed Shami (0) nearly polishing off the Indian tail. Wriddhiman and Shami got identical deliveries that jagged back in from three quarter length breaching their defence. Ashwin got one that was full and kicked up from good length as he gloved it to Ross Taylor at wide second slip.
It was left-arm spinner Santner, who removed prodigious Rahul in the morning session and later broke the second-wicket stand between Vijay and Pujara to open the window for his side.
Wagner bowled his heart out in the second session and was rewarded with the prized wicket of Indian captain Kohli.
Five minutes before the tea, Vijay tried to cut a shortish delivery from leg-break bowler Sodhi but managed a faint edge, taken by stumper BJ Watling.
Vijay was mostly patient from one end, treating the balls on merit.
After his Caribbean sojourn was marred by injury and the only Test match he got a chance to bat didn�t go well, it was a good opportunity for the Tamil Nadu opener, who would rue the chance of having missed out on a big score after getting set.
New Zealand began the third session with Sodhi and Mark Craig operating in tandem. Rohit punished Sodhi with a six over the deep mid-wicket that raised India�s 200 and followed it up with a boundary on the off-side.
Craig (1/59) though saw the back of Rahane (18 off 36) getting him caught by Tom Latham at forward short leg.
Spin all-rounder Ashwin turned to be a solid support for Rohit Sharma, who himself survived a confident leg before appeal from Craig.
Ashwin was comfortable playing both pacers and spinners, driving elegantly before being undone by Boult.
Each and every Kiwi bowler was among wickets, highlighting a team effort, led by Santner.
India 1st innings: KL Rahul c Watling b Santner 32, Murali Vijay c Watling b Sodhi 65, Cheteshwar Pujara c & b Santner 62, Virat Kohli c Sodhi b Wagner 9, Ajinkya Rahane c Latham b Craig 18, Rohit Sharma c Sodhi b Santner 35, R Ashwin c Taylor b Boult 40, Wriddhiman Saha b Boult 0, Ravindra Jadeja not out 16, Mohammed Shami b Boult 0, Umesh Yadav not out 8. Extras: (B-5, LB-1) 6. Total: (For 9 wkts; 90 overs) 291. Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-154, 3-167, 4-185, 5-209, 6-261, 7-262, 8-273, 9-277. Bowling: Trent Boult 17-2-57-3, Neil Wagner 14-3-42-1, Mitchell Santner 20-2-77-3, Mark Craig 24-6-59-1, Ish Sodhi 15-3-50-1. � PTI