India off to strong start in Kanpur despite Rahul exit

India shrugged off the loss of opener Lokesh Rahul to reach 105 for one at lunch on the first day of the first test against New Zealand on Thursday.

Rather unsurprisingly, the only wicket to fall in the first session of India's 500th test went to a spinner with Mitchell Santner getting Rahul caught behind after a fluent 32.

Murali Vijay (39) and Cheteshwar Pujara (34) will return after the break looking to push on and justify skipper Virat Kohli's decision to bat first at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.

Rahul's last three innings across all formats had yielded two centuries and a fifty and the right-hander, chosen ahead of Shikhar Dhawan, dominated his 42-run stand with fellow opener Vijay.

The 24-year-old hit four boundaries, and a six off Santner, before faintly edging to wicketkeeper BJ Watling in the left-arm spinner's second over, and just the 11th of the innings.

Off-spinner Mark Craig soon joined him as New Zealand unleashed spin from both ends even though boundaries kept flowing as Vijay and Pujara drove and cut with elan.

The tourists also picked Ish Sodhi in a three-pronged spin attack, who must deliver especially as New Zealand face the unenviable prospect of batting last on a pitch that has already seen turn.