Back-up opener Luke Ronchi made his case for selection in the first Test with a cracking century as New Zealand’s only warm-up match of the India tour ended in a draw against Mumbai at the Feroze Shah Kotla here on Sunday.
Ronchi’s racy 107-run knock was the highlight of the New Zealand second innings which ended at 235 all out in 66.4 overs on the third and final day, providing the visiting side more batting practice ahead of the first Test beginning in Kanpur on September 22.
Mumbai, starting the day at 431 for five, batted for 11 overs before declaring at 464 for eight to end up with a 140-run first innings lead. Siddhesh Lad, who was overnight on 86, went on to complete his hundred off 99 balls and remained unbeaten.
For New Zealand, their second innings was all about giving time in the middle to batsmen who struggled or who did not get a hit at all in the first innings.
Therefore, the out-of-form Martin Guptill came out to bat with a different opening partner in Luke Ronchi and not Tom Latham, who top-scored with a solid 55 in the first innings.
Ronchi, on the other hand, did not get to bat on the opening day, thus giving him an opportunity to stake a claim for the opening spot. And eventually he did that with a commanding performance.
The day three pitch did have some usual wear and tear but not enough to trouble the batting side consistently. Mumbai, opening the bowling with a pace-spin combine, struck in the second over with Guptill lasting only two balls.