Centuries for Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson lifted New Zealand off the ropes and into a position of command on the opening day of the first Test against India.
Captain McCullum posted his eighth Test hundred soon after tea yesterday and Williamson followed two overs later with his fifth as New Zealand progressed to 329-4 at stumps.
Williamson was eventually removed for 113 and at stumps McCullum was unbeaten on 143, with Corey Anderson on 42, in a 78-run stand for the fifth wicket.
McCullum and Williamson came together when New Zealand were in trouble at 30-3 after being sent in to bat on a bowler-friendly Eden Park wicket.
The heavy cloud cover and green-topped wicket were ripe for the Indian bowlers, who made the most of the favorable conditions and runs proved difficult to obtain as New Zealand’s batsmen struggled to reach 54-3 by lunch.
However, when the sun broke through after the break and the track flattened out into a good batting strip, McCullum and Williamson stole the initiative away from India in a 221-run stand for the fourth wicket.
They batted with confidence as Williamson notched his 50 with a top-edge for six and McCullum cleared the rope for his hundred when he belted Ravindra Jadeja over the long-off boundary.
McCullum’s innings so far contains 18 fours and two sixes, while the more textbook approach of Williamson produced 10 fours and two sixes.
Both batsmen also took risks and offered chances. Murali Vijay at first slip dropped a sitter from Williamson on 32 and Shikhar Dhawan put down McCullum on 102.
Early in the day Dhawan dropped Peter Fulton on one, although the damage was not as severe as with the McCullum miss, as the New Zealand opener only made 13 before he was rapped on the pads by Zaheer Khan.
That was when the Indian pacemen were dominating as they found plenty of movement to trouble the batsmen.
Ishant Sharma was the first to strike when he teased Hamish Rutherford (six) with deliveries that angled away, until the left-hander slashed and caught an edge, which was well taken by Ajinkya Rahane in the gully.
Sharma also claimed Ross Taylor, who had provided the backbone of the New Zealand batting in recent months, but looked uncomfortable against the India quicks.
Taylor made three off 15 deliveries before driving Sharma to Jadeja at mid-off for an early return to the pavilion.
Sharma earned the most respect among the Indian bowlers and finished the day with two for 62, while Zaheer Khan proved expensive with two for 98.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7