Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up five wickets in a fine display of seam bowling to floor New Zealand after Wriddhiman Saha’s battling half-century helped India reach 316 on the second day of the second Test at Eden Gardens on Saturday. After India were dismissed shortly before lunch, their seamers did most of the damage as New Zealand staggered to 128 for seven at the close on a rain-interrupted day.
BJ Watling (12) and Jeetan Patel (five) were at the crease for the touring side. It was the fourth five-wicket haul for the 26-year-old Kumar, who replaced Umesh Yadav in the side. Mohammed Shami struck first, trapping opener Tom Latham (one) lbw, before out-of-sorts Martin Guptill (13) departed when the ball ricocheted off of his elbow and on to his stumps after he lifted his arms to avoid a sharply-rising Kumar delivery.
Henry Nicholls (one) was out soon after play resumed in the second session when the left-handed batsman chopped Kumar onto his stumps to reduce the Kiwis to 23-3. New Zealand’s hopes rested heavily on Taylor’s shoulders with regular captain Kane Williamson absent due to illness but after a two-and-half hour rain delay the right-hander pushed hard at a Kumar outswinger to be caught at first slip.
The 31-year-old Saha, who has cemented his place in India’s Test side after the retirement of long-standing captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was struck on the elbow and the ribcage by some hostile New Zealand bowling. Saha added 41 for the eighth wicket with Jadeja (14) and another 35 for the final one with fellow home favourite Shami.