Wellington, Feb 23 (IANS) Prithvi Shaw was given the nod ahead of Shubman Gill as a second opener with Mayank Agarwal for the first Test against New Zealand here. But the young batsman failed to make the most of his opportunities in both innings with scores of 16 and 14.
Shaw was cleaned up by a Tim Southee half-volley outswinger which was asking to be driven but the 20-year old did not move his front foot, resulting in him getting squared up. Up until then, the U-19 World Cup winning captain had hit two fours but never looked settled. India were all out for 165 with New Zealand getting to 348 in reply.
In the second innings, Shaw seemed to have not learnt from his first run-in as he looked loose and played away from his body. Trent Boult set him up by digging one in from round the wicket, which left the right-hander surprised and fending for it. Tom Latham, at short backward square leg, took a diving catch to his left to remove him.
In the tour match against New Zealand XI at Hamilton before the first Test, 2018 U-19 World Cup winning teammates Shaw and Gill both did not fare too well but the former got the nod because of his comparatively better pedigree in the format.
Shaw last played Test cricket in October 2018. After cracking a 154-ball 134 on debut in Rajkot, Shaw was selected for the following Australia tour, but an ankle injury sidelined him from the entire series. Shaw was suspended for a doping violation later in 2019 and therefore missed the West Indies tour and then the home series against West Indies and Bangladesh.
Gill is still to make his Test debut, but smashed 83 and an unbeaten 204 for India A in the first four-day fixture in Christchurch against New Zealand A. India are without regular Test opener Rohit Sharma who injured himself during the T20 series. With Gill snapping at his heels, it remains to be seen whether Shaw gets another chance in the second and final Test of the two-match series.