Wellington: India made a horror start to the opening Test against New Zealand as they collapsed to 126-8 at tea on the first day at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday. Daryl Tuffey, debutant Jacob Oram and Scott Styris each grabbed two wickets after New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming had won the toss and elected to field. Rahul Dravid was the lone batsman to give a good account of himself against a disciplined New Zealand pace attack, top-scoring with a gutsy 64 not out for his 28th half-century in 68 Tests. He received no support from the other end as India lost much of their batting pride through indifferent display on a lively pitch. Dravid batted confidently against the hosts' pace bowling as he applied himself well on the bouncy track and patiently waited for the loose deliveries to punish. The reliable middle-order batsman reached his half-century in the afternoon session, steering Tuffey over the slips for his ninth four. He has so far hit 11 fours in his 158-ball knock. India's problems began early in the cold and windy conditions as Tuffey rattled the tourists with two wickets in his opening three overs, removing openers Virender Sehwag (2) and Sanjay Bangar (1). Hard-hitting Sehwag was bowled through the gate off the one that cut in sharply off the pitch in the day's second over. Bangar looked surprised by Sri Lankan umpire Asoka de Silva's decision when adjudged caught off the gloves in the slips. India suffered a big setback when they were reduced to 29-3 as Sachin Tendulkar fell after making eight. The master batsman was adjudged leg-before on the front-foot by the Sri Lankan umpire while offering no stroke to become Oram's first Test victim. India nearly lost skipper Saurav Ganguly, as Fleming failed to latch on to a high catch at first slip off Bond when the batsman was on three. Luck deserted Ganguly (17) a few overs later as he was caught low in the slips by Lou Vincent off Bond in the last over before lunch. Venkatsai Laxman fell for nought in the opening over after the break as he edged Bond to wicket-keeper Robbie Hart while attempting to fend off a rising delivery to leave his team tottering at 55-5. Oram bagged his second wicket when he had wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel caught by Vincent in the slips. Styris then dismissed Ajit Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh off successive deliveries.
Indians In Kiwiland