Hamilton:India's pace bowler Ishant Sharma lived up to the potential, picking up four New Zealand wickets in the first innings but was disappointed that the hosts were let off the hook after they were struggling at 61 for six at one stage on the opening day of the first Test here on Wednesday.
The hosts found it hard to handle the pace of Ishant and fellow speedster Zaheer Khan, who vindicated skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to field after winning the toss at Seddon Park.
The pace partners accounted for five of the six wickets to fall in the first session with third seamer Munaf Patel picking up the other one.
However, with the wicket easing up after the lunch break, success was hard to come by and New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori (118) teamed up with Jesse Ryder (102) to forge a record 186-run partnership for the seventh wicket that steered the hosts to a respectable 279 all out in their first innings.
"We wanted to bowl them out for a score under 200. There was something in the wicket for the fast bowlers in the morning. But it went flat in the second session," said Ishant, who returned with figures of four for 73 in his 19.2 overs.
The Delhi pacer said there was some assistance for the bowlers in the morning session with the wind at their back. "It was difficult to bowl against the wind. But I did a lot better when I bowled with the wind behind me," Ishant said at the post-match press conference.
Asked if India had lost the intensity in the post-lunch session, the 20-year-old bowler said, "We bowled to our plans. We bowled in the right areas. But when the wicket goes flat and the old ball does very little, the job becomes difficult. But we must admit that Vettori and Ryder batted very well."