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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Test Cricket: New Zealand Beat India By 40 Runs In Auckland!


Crucial 4/62 By Neil Wagner

Thanks to a freakish third day the first Test between New Zealand and India got stretched to the fourth day today and as has been the trend New Zealand overpowered India by 40 runs in Auckland taking an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match Test Series. India’s overseas woes spill over with a possible redeeming winning chance in the Test Series gone after this defeat. India can now at best draw the Series or return home with all the zero-defeat margins compounded. As the richest cricket Board of the world, BCCI and its all-powerful and absolutely insulated president N Srinavasan, looks set to take full control of the ICC (International Cricket Council) in the near future their money-spinning Team India seems down and out. The BCCI cannot wish away more overseas tours scheduled during the year, but they must be looking into their bag of dirty tricks to pull out crowds-restoring matches. Anyway, the Indians here created a great opportunity to win and go one up, but they themselves messed it up.

Shikhar Dhawan
The Auckland Test seemed to be over at stumps on the second day when replying to New Zealand’s mammoth 503 India lost their way as usual and were struggling at 130/4. On the third morning there was no indication of the spirited resistance to come as India continued to be dismal losing last six wickets for just about 70 runs being all out 202 giving a huge lead of 301 runs. Luckily for them, NZ did not enforce the follow-on due to some inexplicable reasons. And then the storm. For one rare occasion overseas the Indian pacers bowled with spirit and fury scuttling out their opponents for as low as 105 runs. So, India had a target of 407 runs to chase for a win with more than two days which could have been a record win chasing in Indian history of Test cricket. The third day saw fall of 17 wickets. However, the pitch still looked good for batting.

The Indian batsmen started spiritedly too. They were tantalizingly 87/1 at stumps on the third day needing 320 runs more with nine wickets in hand. Shikhar Dhawan who notched up his first overseas Test century (115) created almost a matching winning partnership with Virat Kohli (67) taking the score to 222. But then NZ took the new ball and the consistent weakness of Indian batsmen to short and fast stuff surfaced again. Add to it their inexplicable aggression leading to absolutely mindless shots and one or two costly umpiring errors. Down to Zaheer Khan at number 9 everyone particularly Jadeja and Dhoni tried to achieve victory, but only spirit was not found good enough for creating an incredible and record-breaking win.

Brendon McCullum


Brendon McCullulm was adjudged the man of the match for his brilliant 224 in the first innings. For India they so far have only managed to win all the tosses and could not capitalize on any of them. Seeing some clouds floating above his head MS Dhoni invited the Kiwis to bat first not realizing that the match was for five days and that seamy conditions could not last for long. For the first time Team India is dearly missing the services of its celebrated trio—Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar. Time is running out for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni now. The second Test starts from 14th February in Wellington.
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