IND vs NZ, 1st Test, Day 2: Shreyas Iyer Joins Elite Club With Maiden Test Century on Debut

Shreyas Iyer became the 16th Indian batsman to score a century on his Test debut on Friday, joining the ranks of legends such as Lala Amarnath, Gundappa Viswanath, and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. On the second day of the ongoing first Test against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium in Mumbai, the graceful right-hander, who originates from Mumbai’s Worli region, completed the feat. Iyer made 105 runs off 171 balls, hitting 13 fours and a couple of sixes in the process. Tim Southee terminated his employment.

After Viswanath, he became the second batter to achieve a century in his Test debut at Kanpur. The 26-year-old is the third Indian to score a century against New Zealand on debut. Arjan Kripal Singh, who accomplished the feat in 1955, and Surinder Amarnath, who struck a century on his debut against the Black Caps in 1976, are the other two Indians who have done it. While none of New Zealand’s three spinners bowled badly, they went wicketless after bowling a combined 52 overs, and while Somerville’s gangly, accurate off-spin was economical, Ajaz Patel and Rachin Ravindra’s left-arm spin proved costly. Much of this was due to the manner in which Gill and Iyer pursued them.

Gill took 29 from 28 balls against Ajaz, who could have dismissed him in his first over if he had reviewed Virender Sharma’s not-out lbw decision, punishing minor length or trajectory errors with exquisite footwork both out of the crease and deep inside it. Ajaz’s straight-bat back-foot punch to the right of midwicket, against the turn, was a contender for shot of the day.

Iyer, on the other hand, got off to a jittery start in Test cricket with a miscued lofted hit that just cleared mid-off sprinting back, and only managed 17 from 55 before tea. After the break, he came out with a definite aim to target the spinners, and where Gill’s footwork was defined by how nimbly he moved ahead or back, Iyer’s was defined by going sideways. This was usually to allow areas for him to play the square or late cut, even if it meant exposing all three stumps, or to go inside-out over the covers.

After tea, debutant batting allrounder Ravindra, whom Kane Williamson may have been obliged to misuse at the start of the third session because of Southee’s injury, went for 26 in a four-over stint. Iyer had scored his last 33 runs off just 39 balls when he hit his half-century with a straight-driven single against Southee.