Skipper Ross Taylor and Scott Styris shared a 190-run fourth-wicket partnership to guide New Zealand to a challenging 288 against India in the first match of the triangular ODI series here on Tuesday.
Electing to bat, New Zealand collapsed to 28 for three in 6.5 overs but Taylor (95) and Styris (89) rescued the innings and set the platform for a huge total, before being shot out in 48.5 overs here.
Newball bowlers Praveen Kumar (3/43) and Ashish Nehra (4/47) shared seven wickets between them to strangle the New Zealand top and lower order and helped India bowl out their rivals inside 300.
New Zealand had a tottering start, losing three wickets inside seven overs with the scoreboard reading just 28 but Taylor and Styris stemmed the rot and anchored the innings to safety after electing to bat first.
Praveen, Nehra strike early blows
Openers Peter Ingram (12) and MJ Guptill (11) started off well, clubbing a couple of fours but newball bowler Praveen Kumar removed the latter in the third over to draw first blood for India.
Kumar’s late away going delivery got the edge of Guptill’s blade as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni completed a simple catch to leave New Zealand at 15 for one at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.
Ashish Nehra then got into the act and removed Ingram in the sixth over. Nehra’s seaming away ball kissed Ingram’s bat and Dhoni made no mistake as India reduced their rivals to 27 for two.
Kumar struck again in the seventh over when his incoming delivery pitched on the middle stump and before Kane Williamson (0) could play it, the ball moved away at the last instant and cleaned his off stump.
With their innings lying in shambles, Taylor and Styris started the rebuilding process and picked up ones and twos and slammed occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Styris, Taylor dazzle
Mithun was on their firing line in the 16th over, when the youngster was hit for consecutive boundaries by Taylor and Styris at cover and point respectively.
Taylor then repeated the same treatment to Ravindra Jadeja in the 18th over when he hit him for a couple of fours both at backward point.
In the 21st over, Taylor picked Pragyan Ojha for a boundary when he cut him to clear the ropes at the backward boundary.
Styris, meanwhile, slammed consecutive boundaries of Ojha and smashed Jadeja over midwicket, before reaching his fifty in the 30th over.
With both of them going great guns, New Zealand took the batting Powerplay and Styris slammed Jadeja for successive boundaries in the 32nd over.
The 35-year-old allrounder then picked up Nehra for a special treatment, sending him across the ropes.
The partnership was finally broken in the 39th over, when Ojha cleaned up Styris. New man Jacob Oram also didn’t last long and was sent packing by Nehra who trapped him infront of wicket in the next over.
Just five runs short of a century, Taylor also departed when Nehra’s full-length delivery straightened on to the middle-stump and found his legs.
Yuvraj then had Grant Elliott stumped, while Kumar had wicket keeper Gerath Hopkins caught behind.
Nehra came back to haunt the Kiwis in the next over when he had Daryl Tuffey hole out at long on to Ojha and Suresh Raina then removed last man Kyle Mills by a direct hit to wrap up the New Zealand innings.
India: MS Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashish Nehra, Pragyan Ojha
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (c), Martin Guptill, Peter Ingram, Kane Williamson, Scott Styris, Grant Elliott, Gareth Hopkins†, Jacob Oram, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Andy McKay.
Keywords: New Zealand-India ODI