India Back on No 1 Rank in Test as Pacers, Spinners Shine against Kiwis

October 05 15:35 2016

iwNew Delhi, Wednesday, October 5 – Indian team was playing the 250th Test match on the home soil in Kolkata and they commemorated it in the grand fashion in front of home supporters, who were elated on India’s success at the Eden Gardens lately.

The top sides were doing their best but certainly efforts of the Indian cricket team proved adequate to make opponents feel the heat. New Zealand wanted to avoid the outcome they faced at Green Park in Kanpur during 1st Test but failure in batting cost them the match once again. Here is to remind once again that first innings of the hosts came to an end at a score of 316, which was a modest total, if not good. Viewers got to see a mix of some amazing as well as average batting. With Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ravichandran Ashwin on the Indian side, Virat Kohli wanted to put another milestone.

At the same time, Ross Taylor – the stand-in skipper – was almost expecting the same having Henry Nicholls, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Jeetan Patel, Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, BJ Watling and Neil Wagner in the team. Not having Kane Williamson in the squad, the Kiwis certainly missed the essence as he being one of the finest batsmen in the group. Ajinkya Rahane and Saha played impressive innings with sheer style, letting people enjoy watching Test cricket. Henry dismissed three batsmen, Boult, Wagner and Patel two batsmen each and Santner one batsman. Kiwis could only scored 204 runs while making an attempt to get past the total score set by India in their 1st innings. However, that did not happen despite the fact that they landed in the sub-continent with perhaps their best possible team, which was assembled in the hope to be victorious on the Indian soil and defeat the opponents that is never easy in Indian conditions.

Contribution of 47 runs from Jeetan Patel was the highest individual total from the New Zealand side. His innings was studded with nine 4s. Such a brilliant show was unexpected from the tail-ender batsman but that is what cricket is all about. Kumar shone at his best with a 5-wicket haul. Required support was given by Shami, Jadeja and Ashwin. It was a big thing for India that all of the key bowlers did the job and Kohli did not need to try out other bowling options. When 263 runs were accumulated by the hosts in the second innings, it seemed adequate to take the Black Caps under pressure. Rohit Sharma’s 82 runs made India gain foothold when wickets were lost early after Murali Vijay was dismissed by Henry at a score of 7 (4 x 1). The opener was shocked himself as he looked forward to using wicket, which was playing different.

Henry was the man to send Cheteshwar Pujara back to the dressing room at a score of four, which came through a boundary. Pujara couldn’t do anything when the ball hit the pads, making him get his leg before wicket, giving a big reason to Kiwis to smile. The young Indian skipper Kohli scored 45 runs this time. His innings included seven fours, letting the visitors do some running on the field. A terrific delivery by Boult made him go back to the dressing room when Kohli was 5 runs away from pocketing another fifty. But Kohli and experts knew it very well that the ball was almost unplayable and that was probably the reason of his mysterious smile post losing his wicket. Ajinkya Rahane was taken by surprise by Henry post scoring 1 run. Boult was doing outstandingly well and took a good catch to ensure India lose another wicket in a short span of time.

Nonetheless, the other side was held strong by Rohit Sharma as he stood robustly to make India gain foothold. His crucial contribution included a couple of sixes as well that made Kiwis think of other strategies to stop him from  getting dangerous. Ravichandran Ashwin’s dismissal by Santner at a score of 5 once again made many to think as this may be the time when India have to defend an ‘unimpressive’ total. But Saha was in a different mood while performing in the home conditions. Even though Rohit missed the chance to pocketing a century by 18 runs, he gave spectators an opportunity to watch Test format in an entertaining way. Ravindra Jadeja’s six was eye-catching but he could go further thanks to a tricky delivery from Santner.

Kumar played an innings of 23 runs (4 x 2 and 6 x 1). Wagner dismissed him. Mohammed Shami was successful in opening his account but an uncertain catch in the hands of Latham did not leave him with any other option but to go back. Saha was unbeatable at 58 runs (4 x 6). Now everything depended on the performances of New Zealand players. Start was good for New Zealand this time as compared to first innings. The top batting order contributed in terms of runs, which were required to come on the front foot. But suddenly a jolt was felt when Martin Guptill was lbw by Ashwin at a score of 24 in 49 balls. Three boundaries from him made Kiwis pocket runs in speed.

Tom Latham showcased his natural play, knowing the significance of being on the crease. In between, Henry Nicholls succumbed to Jadeja post totaling 24 runs, together with a couple of fours. Ross Taylor lost his wicket early this time being lbw by Ashwin while playing at an individual score of 4. A clever delivery by Ashwin made Tom Latham go back to the dressing room. Saha was quick in pouching the ball behind the wickets. 74 runs from him in 148 balls consisted of eight 4s. Shami confidently sent Mitchell Santner back to the pavilion at a score of 9, which comprised a couple of boundaries. BJ Watling was dismissed by Shami at a score of 1 when the ball hit the stumps clearly. 25 runs from him included three boundaries.

Luke Ronchi, who succumbed to Jadeja while playing at a score of 32 (4 x 4), lent a hand to the Black Caps think of attaining some steadiness but his dismissal changed the entire story onwards. To get past the score achieved by India turned out a nightmare for New Zealand later on. Matt Henry was out for 18 runs (4 x 2) as Jadeja was bowling in accurate line and length. Jeetan Patel was out by Bhuvneshwar at a score of 2. As soon as last wicket fell in the form of Trent Boult when Shami was brought back on attack at 4 runs, Indian side was elated. Neil Wagner was not out at 5 runs. The score that was attainable made the tourists bear the brunt. The pitch sported different mood, surprising both teams. The New Zealand will have to play last Test to succeed and take advantage of the wicket, whether it supports pacers or spinners. Ronchi has definitely impressed but words are less for the way Indian bowlers performed.

Using the talent of spin and fast bowling at different time intervals worked for Kohli, who is steadily learning the art of captaining a side. Three wickets each went into the pockets of Shami, Jadeja and Ashwin. Kumar got one wicket. India beat New Zealand by 178 runs. The humongous win will help them shine better in the coming days. The Kiwis are to play for pride in final Test at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore that starts October 8. They will certainly hope to stitch some partnerships to make India shift on the back foot. It is never late to bounce back. A victory is always eyed and Kiwis would be eager to end Test series with a win, which if experienced in the second Test would have kept their hopes alive in the tournament. As of now, some rest is enjoyed by India as they played as a unit and everyone contributed in one way or the other. Some changes in Indian team are likely as Dhawan injured his thumb. As per latest reports, Karun Nair is to replace him. Viewers are all set for the new action that is to be observed after a couple of days.

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