India's failure to get tailenders out has been a cause of worry for some time now. It was once again the case on the second day of the second and final Test against New Zealand here on Sunday.
India were up against it after Day 1 ended with New Zealand batting on 63/0 in reply to India's 242 in the first innings. But by lunch, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav had helped the Virat Kohli-led side reduce the hosts to 142/5.
It was a glorious opportunity to bounce back in the contest as just after the break, B.J. Watling and Tim Southee were dismissed by Bumrah. The Kiwis were 153/7 and looked set to fold out for a below 200 total. But the last three wickets saw New Zealand, led by the impressive Kyle Jamieson (49), score 82 runs as India lost a chance to take a healthy lead and eventually settle for just a seven-run advantage going into the second dig.
Jamieson and de Grandhomme added 51 runs for the ninth wicket as Indian bowlers failed to break the stand which could potentially be a deciding factor in the five-day contest.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who is not playing this game, had said that lower order batters have got better with time and New Zealand have some good ones, but the truth remains that in the last couple of years India have suffered because of the tail and their inability to rein in after shaving off the top order.
At stumps, India were reeling at 90/6, with a slender lead of 97 runs, at the Hagley Oval.
India are 0-1 down in the two-match series after losing the first Test by 10 wickets.