KOLKATA: Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed five wickets to leave New Zealand tottering at 128 for seven at stumps as India gained the upper hand in the second Test Saturday on a rain-hit day two in Kolkata.
The Black Caps were still trailing India, who posted 316 in their first innings, by 188 runs with BJ Watling on 12 and Jeetan Patel on 5 battling to survive.
Getting good support from new-ball partner Mohammed Shami, who struck first with the wicket of opener Tom Latham, Kumar made life difficult for the visiting batsmen.
Martin Guptill, who is in the middle of a woeful run of form, was bowled for 13 by a beautiful Kumar delivery that left the batsman in two minds.
Stand-in-skipper Ross Taylor (36) and Luke Ronchi (35) managed 62 runs for the fourth wicket to put up some resistance but Ravindra Jadeja had other ideas.
Left-arm spinner Jadeja broke through Ronchi’s defences after trapping the batsman lbw, although television replays suggested that the ball may have missed the leg stump.
Ronchi failed to capitalise on a reprieve when he was on 16 when substitute fielder Gautam Gambhir dropped the ball at point off Shami.
A nearly two-and-a-half hour rain interruption, which forced early tea at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, did not change New Zealand’s fortunes as the visitors lost three wickets in the final session.
Kumar, who recorded his fourth five-wicket haul in his 15th Test, got Taylor caught at first slip on another one of his deliveries that had the right line and length.
Kumar wreaked havoc in the 33rd over the innings to pick up two wickets — Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry — off consecutive deliveries only to miss out a hat-trick.
Watling and Patel then played through the final few overs of the day under murky conditions before umpires called bad light.
Earlier the hosts, who started the day on 239 for seven, were bolstered by Wriddhiman Saha’s unbeaten 54, which included 7 fours and 2 sixes.
Saha and Jadeja, who scored 14, put on 41 runs for the eighth wicket to add some useful runs to the team’s first innings score.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Saha, who registered his third Test fifty in 17 matches, looked in fine form but ran out of partners at the other end.
New Zealand recalled pacer Henry claimed three wickets while Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Jeetan Patel took two each.