A brilliant attacking century from New Zealand captain Ross Taylor helped the visitors post their first decent score in the Test series so far against India at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.
Going into the match, Taylor, who had a dismal first Test, had said attacking the spinners would be important if the Kiwis were to gain an upper hand. The skipper stayed true to his word, as the right-hander surged into one-day mode, bringing out his patented slog sweep at will and with it sending the red leather across the field on the first day of the second and final Test.
Kruger Van Wyk and Doug Bracewell were at the crease with NZ on 328 for six from 81.3 overs, as bad light put a premature end to the day's play. Van Wyk was on 63 not out, with Bracewell giving him good company on 30; the Kiwi pair sharing an unbroken stand of 82.
Pragyan Ojha, who opened the bowling for India, was the pick of the bowlers, taking four wickets for 90 runs from 27 overs, with Zaheer Khan and R Ashwin, the man of the match in the previous Test at Hyderabad, accounting for one Kiwi batsman each.
However, the day belonged to Taylor -- the man popular amongst the Indian crowds for his explosive batting in the IPL, bringing out his entire attacking prowess on a power-packed opening day. Taylor stated his intent very early on, slog-sweeping a big six off Ashwin's bowling in just the bowler's second over and the batsman's first.
After that, a decent crowd at the Chinnaswamy was treated to a barrage of cover drives and on-side shots from the Delhi Daredevil, as New Zealand moved the scoreboard at a very impressive rate. After losing their first three wickets before hitting the 100-run mark, Taylor and Daniel Flynn put on the Kiwis' first 100-run partnership of the series; Taylor the aggressive partner, with Flynn happy to farm the strike to his captain whenever possible.
Taylor got to his century, his seventh in Test cricket, in just 99 balls. However, the wicket of Flynn soon after, threatened to throw a spanner into the works of the Kiwi first innings. Flynn went for a sweep against Ashwin, with the off-spinner trapping the left-hander leg before for the third time in as many innings. James Franklin hung around with Taylor for a while, before a lazy flick towards midwicket was nicely snared by Suresh Raina.
After the Tea break, in which NZ finished at 215 for five, Taylor soon departed for 113, with the score on 246/6. Just when Mahendra Singh Dhoni needed to take advantage, and try to bowl the tail-enders out cheaply, the usually astute captain made a few decisions, which were hard to fathom, given the situation.
Instead of opting for spinners at both ends, Dhoni gave the ball to Zaheer Khan and then Umesh Yadav, with a spinner operating from the other end. Van Wyk and Bracewell were quite happy to negotiate the spinners, while the diminutive wicketkeeper lent into the fast bowlers to score a few cheap runs for his side. The pitch, after assisting the fast bowlers a little in the first hour had eased up considerably, allowing both batsmen to coast through the final session with relative comfort.
Earlier in the day, Zaheer picked up the first wicket of the match in just the second over, trapping the dangerous Brendon McCullum in front of the wicket. Williamson and Guptill stuck around for a bit, before Taylor took charge and gave the Kiwis the impetus to take the honours on the first day.