India's Shubman Gill (right) is congratulated by Cheteshwar Pujara after reaching fifty on the first morning against New Zealand in Kanpur
New Delhi (AFP) - Shubman Gill helped India to reach at 82-1 on the first day of the opening Test against New Zealand Thursday in a Kanpur stadium enveloped in haze caused by heavily pollution in industrial city
At lunch Gill was unbeaten on 52 with Cheteshwar Pujara 15 not out.
In the absence of the rested Rohit Sharma and the injured KL Rahul, India’s new opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Gill got off to a shaky start.
Tim Southee had Gill given out leg-before in the third over but the decision was overturned on review thanks to an inside edge.
Agarwal then fell for a scratchy 13 runs off 28 balls when he edged Kyle Jamieson to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell in the eighth over.
Gill and Pujara navigated tight Kiwi bowling unscathed as they built an unbeaten partnership of 61 runs.
Pujara was watchful on pitch that offered some variable bounce, taking 61 balls to reach 15 while the more free-flowing Gill hit five fours and a six in his 52 off 87 balls.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, standing in for Virat Kohli who is resting, won the toss and asked the Test world champions to field in the two-match series.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who picked two specialist spinners – Ajaz Patel and William Somerville – and a spinning all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, introduced spin as early as the seventh over after the slow wicket offered little for the new-ball pair of Jamieson and Southee.
Patel took over from Southee and held up one end bowling his left-arm spin for nine wicketless overs that cost 35 runs.
Jamieson was the sharpest Black Caps bowler with his six overs costing just 12 runs and accounting for Agarwal.
Off-spinner Somerville was introduced in the 18th over and bowled a tidy six-over spell for nine runs.
The 22-year-old Rachin, one of two debutants in the match alongside India’s Shreyas Iyer, got to bowl for the first time in the 25th over with the ball already gripping and turning on the slow first-day pitch.
Born to Indian parents who moved to Wellington in the 1990s, Rachin is named after two cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and the new Indian coach Rahul Dravid.
Rahane too packed his side with three specialist spinners in Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel.
Pollution cast a hazy pall over the ground as levels of PM2.5, the most harmful particulate matter responsible for chronic lung and heart disease, registered about 57 times higher than World Health Organisation safe levels at 287 micrograms per cubic metre in Kanpur during the session, according to monitoring company IQAir.