Saturday, June 06, 2020, 05:33:06 AM

India On The Brink At Wellington

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2020-02-23 4:28:46 PM
India On The Brink At Wellington

ICC World Test Championship

India New Zealand Test Played at Wellington, New Zealand 21-25 February 2020

Scorecard at Stumps on Day-3

India 1st Innings 165 All Out (AM Rahane 46, MA Agarwal 34, KA Jamieson 4/39, TG Southee 4/49) and 144/4 in the Second Innings (MA Agarwal 58, AM Rahane 25* ,TA Boult 3/27) ,

New Zealand Ist Innings 348 All Out (KS Williamson 89, LRPL Taylor 44, KA Jamieson 44, C de Gandhomme 43, TA Boult 38, I Sharma 5/68, R Awsin 3/99)

India is Trailing by 39 runs with 6 wickets at hand

Inept batting by Indian top order in either innings so far and lack of support for Ishant Sharma by his much vaunted pace bowling partner has taken top ICC ranked India on the verge of defeat in the first test against New Zealand at Wellington.

India managed 165 in the first Innings, New Zealand responded with 348 All Out taking a huge 183 runs first innings lead. India at stumps of day three was looking down the barrel at 144/4 still 39 runs in arrea.

In the first Innings after home team put them to bat on a wicket having lateral movement Indian batsman apart from Rahane showed lack of technique against balls moving fast on the seam and swinging in the air. Specially they struggled against the disconcerting bounce of debutant 6 feel 8 inches tall K Jamieson and willy old horse Southee. Shaw, Pujara, Kohli, Bihari had no clue. Rahane and Punt saved the innings from total embarrassment. But still Jamieson (4/39) and Southee (4/49) restricted India to well below what Kohli and India would have liked 165 all out in the first innings.  For a while Kohli is not in his element and his feet is not moving well at all against moving ball. He looked very tentative against balls leaving him. His failure in the both the innings is now growing a headache for team India. Pujara usually a very good player of pace failed in both innings like Kohli. When two premier batsman of the team fail without fight it becomes huge challenge for others batting against quality bowling in alien condition.

New Zealand response was pretty professional. On a wicket which still provided lot of assistance to good pace bowling only Ishant Sharma was in his element. Neither Sami nor Bumrah was anywhere near their own self. Smart batting by Willaimson and Taylor took home team to 216/5 by stumps on day two. Williamson played a trademark classy innings of 89 and Taylor in his milestone setting match scored 44. Taylor is the only player having played 100 or more matches in all three formats (Test, ODI and T20).  On the third morning India removed Vijay Watlling very early making it 6/216. All thought that Kohliwill pressurize and restrict home team to a manageable total. But too much conservative field setting let them off the hook and black cap tails wagged. Grandhoome (43), Jamieson (44) and Boult (38) all contributed. New Zealand took a huge 183 runs lead. Sharma was the lone warrior taking 5/68. It seems that New Zealand batsmen have worked out Bumrah and Sami. They looked innocuous in the ODIs also.

In the uphill task to save the test India was expected to bat well second time as wicket eased out considerably. But this time Boult after his adventurous batting decimated India soon to 4/113. He accounted for Shaw, Pujara and Kohli for not much. Only Agarwal showed some fight scoring 58 before falling to Southee. Rahanne( 25*) and Vihari ( 15*) were at the crease at stumps . India at 144/4 is staring for a defeat.

What has happened to top ranked test team now? What has happened to arguably top batsman of the world ViratKohli? His batting looks jaded, his leadership can be questioned? What happened to Indian bowling attack? Sami and Bumarh’s form has suddenly slumped. I am sure, Indian think tank would soon work out the way out. But for the time being New Zealand looks far better team.

BDST: 1628 HRS, FEB 23, 2020



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