Kanpur: Shreyas Iyer completed a coveted hundred on debut even while Ravichandran Ashwin survived Tim Southee’s incisive morning spell to take India to 339 for 8 at lunch against New Zealand on the second day of the opening Test here Friday.
Resuming on overnight score of 75, Iyer (105 off 171 balls) on Friday became the 16th Indian to score a hundred on Test debut and second after the great Gundappa Vishwanath to reach the milestone at this very ground after 52 years.
Ashwin (38 batting off 54 balls) did the bulk of scoring in the morning session in which 81 runs were scored but also four wickets were lost.
But the morning also belonged to the seasoned Southee (27.4-6-69-5), who picked up his 13th five-wicket haul in his 80th Test. He was on target with the second new ball first up as he sent back Ravindra Jadeja (50) on his overnight score.
Southee as usual used the width of the crease cleverly and the angles to trouble Jadeja and got the ball to move from length which was too much for the lower-order players to negotiate. Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel nicked at those deliveries.
Sensing that he is now batting with the tail as Saha (1 off 12 balls) is no longer a batter on whom one can repose his faith, Iyer hit a flurry of boundaries but the best shot was a cover drive off Kyle Jamieson (22.2-6-85-3) which took him to 96.
A glide towards wide of third man off Jamieson got him a double and the moment that every cricketer awaits. A century in India whites which would definitely increase the pressure on his captain for the game, Ajinkya Rahane.
His innings had 13 fours and two sixes which showed that he was always looking at ways to score runs rather than merely surviving.
He was finally out for 105 when he tried to drive a slower one from Southee but it landed straight in the hands of cover fielder.
Ashwin, however, didn’t seem troubled as he hit five fours, including a regal cover drive off a rare loose ball from Southee.