NZ XI and India draw competitive encounter

NZ XI and India draw competitive encounter

Day two : India 313-7 declared (Rohit Sharma 59, Ajinkya Rahane 60*, Ravichandran Ashwin 49) drew with NZ XI 262-9 declared.

All India's top order got time in the middle on day two, as the NZ XI made them work for their runs with some short pitched bowling and committed fielding. The match drew to a close midway through the last session with both sides getting what they needed from the match. 

The NZ XI had success in the second over when Ili Tugaga bowled Murali Vijay and then continued to get good shape on the ball through the morning. 

Shikar Dhawan was the next to go after hitting a sumptuous back foot drive through the covers, but then failing to make his ground on the third run with Roald Bandenhorst and Jono Hickey combining for a great piece of fielding to run him out. 

The NZ XI continued to apply pressure in the morning through Tipene Friday, Tuaga, Bandenhorst, Ian McPeake and the spin of Jono Boult and Anton Devcich. 

The Indian batsmen made steady progress through the morning, with Cheteshwar Pujara looking stylish for his 33 before Badenhorst trapped him lbw sweeping. 

From there, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane got good time in the middle with periods of caution interspersed with flowing strokes to the boundary. Both men could not be beaten, and retired on 59 and 60 respectively to make way for their team mates. 

Boult was rewarded for his persistance when he bowled Wriddhiman Saha for four on what may be his only game on tour. 

Ravichandran Ashwin was happy to free the arms in his innings, peppering the fine leg boundary with big shots including a pair of sixes before Shawn Hick, who was tossed the ball by Devcich, bowled him on 46. 

Tea came and went and with Ambati Rayudu and Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the crease, the captains decided to end the day there. 

NZ XI skipper Anton Devcich felt his side got a lot out of the experience. "All of our boys are very young, and they would never have played the calibre of players we've played in the last two days, so it was a great learning curve and experience really. Knowing where you can bowl the ball, and batting, knowing what shots you can play and can't play, it was very valuable for us, and for the Indians I'm sure."

The first ANZ Test match begins at Eden Park on Thursday. 

Day one: NZ XI 262 declared (Robbie O'Donnell 80, Jono Hickey 45, Roald Badenhorst 34*) lead India 41-0 (Shikar Dhawan 16* Murali Vijay 19*) by 221.

NZ Under 19s captain Robbie O'Donnell's 80 was the highlight of day one, as the NZ XI declared on 262 with an hour left to play. India finished on 41-0.

Robbie O'Donnell and George Worker made a steady start in the face of some hostile lengths bowled by the visitors. Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma all got great pace from the Cobham Oval wicket on a beautiful Whangarei day, but O'Donnell and Worker were able to see the shine off the ball and being to play shots. 

Their partnership was 81 and the spinners were well into their overs when Worker went lbw to Ravichandran Ashwin. NZ XI skipper Anton Devcich's stay at the crease was brief before Zaheer Khan had him caught by the keeper for nine. 

O'Donnell brought up his fifty just before lunch with a boundary through the  off-side - he and Jono Hickey combined for a 57 run partnership  before O'Donnell edged  Ajinkya Rahane into the gulley for 80. He was disappointed not to push on to three figures from where he was, but it was a mature innings from the 19 year old, a week before his NZ U19 side leaves for the U19 World Cup. 

Hickey continued his innnigs as wickets fell around him, with five NZ XI batsmen losing their wickets for 54 runs starting with with the departure of Tim Seifert. Hickey was eventually caught by Rohit Sharma from Ishant Sharma for 45, before Roald Badenhorst and Ian McPeake combined for an entertaining last wicket stand of 30 runs, complete with fine scoring strokes and boundaries before the innings was declared with an hour to play to allow India time to bat on day one. 

Shikar Dhawan and Murali Vijay opened the innings for India and batted largely untroubled for the last hour, despite Tipene Friday and Ili Tuagaga working up some good pace in the afternoon sunshine, and the only chance Dhawan offered going to ground in the slips by O'Donnell from Tipene's bowling. There were a few boundaries toward the end of play, but the openers largely took their chance to assess NZ red ball conditions in Whangarei. Dhawan (16*) and Vijay (19*) will continue in the morning. 

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