Ahmedabad: India batted steadily after Virender Sehwag's early fireworks to reach 76- 1 at lunch on the opening day of the first cricket Test against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Debutant opener Akash Chopra was batting on 25 with Rahul Dravid (22) after the hosts had elected to bat at the Sardar Patel Stadium. By lunch they had put on 41 for the unbroken second-wicket stand. Hard-hitting opener Sehwag was the only batsman dismissed in the morning session after scoring a 32-ball 29 with the help of one six and three fours.
Fast bowler Daryl Tuffey provided the breakthrough in his sixth over when he trapped Sehwag leg-before with a ball which cut in sharply off the pitch. Sehwag looked in hurry, going for shots early in his innings in order to spoil the rhythm of new-ball bowlers Tuffey and Jacob Oram. The aggressive opener cut Oram for a four and then slashed Tuffey for a six over third-man, the ball crossing over the boundary-line after hitting fielder Craig McMillan's hand.
Sehwag failed to curb his strokes even after offering the difficult chance, pulling and driving seamer Scott Styris for two successive fours. His flourish, however, did not last long. Chopra kept batting patiently from the other end despite being tested with short- pitched deliveries from Oram and Tuffey. He hit just one boundary in the two-hour session. Dravid also took no risks, steadying the innings with Chopra after Sehwag's early dismissal.
New Zealand omitted fast bowlers Ian Butler and Michael Mason, and batsman Richard Jones from their playing eleven in the first Test of the two-match series. The second Test begins at Mohali on Oct 16. Fast bowler Laxmipathy Balaji was the other debutant in the Indian side.