Pujara, Rahane prop up India after Henry burst

Cheteshwar Pujara struck his third consecutive fifty and forged an unbroken 90-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane to help India recover to 136 for three at tea on the opening day of the second test against New Zealand on Friday.

India were reeling at 46 for three in the morning session before Pujara underlined his importance to the squad with a sedate unbeaten 64 as he and Rahane (47 not out) ensured the hosts batted through a wicketless afternoon.

Earlier, New Zealand paceman Matt Henry celebrated his test return with a two-wicket burst to wreck India's top order and lift the mood in the Kiwi camp.

Beaten comprehensively in the series opener in Kanpur, New Zealand's bid to level the three-test series suffered a body blow when their ailing skipper Kane Williamson was ruled out of the contest.

Home captain Virat Kohli's decision to bat in India's 250th home test effectively set up a fourth innings battle for the tourists against the Indian spinners on track which, by then, should have heavily deteriorated.

At the same time, it also afforded the Kiwi pacemen an opportunity to extract whatever life was available in Eden Gardens' green-tinged track and the tourists did not disappoint.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan failed to capitalise on his recall to the Indian side for the injured Lokesh Rahul, chopping a Henry delivery onto his stumps to depart after making just one run.

The 24-year-old paceman, one of three New Zealand changes, struck again in his sixth over with a beautiful delivery which angled into Murali Vijay (nine) and seamed away, kissing the shoulder of the bat before nestling into BJ Watling's gloves.

Henry had just been warned for running onto the pitch and the change of angle worked wonders for the bowler.

Trent Boult then dismissed Kohli for nine to further peg back the hosts, the Indian captain chasing a wide delivery and Tom Latham taking a sharp catch at gully.

Jeetan Patel, who flew in after off-spinner Mark Craig had been ruled out of the series with a side strain, nearly struck with his third delivery but Pujara's thick edge flew past Watling's gloves.

Pujara was also smacked on the helmet when he tried to duck under a Boult snorter in the penultimate over before the lunch break.