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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Test Cricket: New Zealand Create History, Favor India With A Draw In Wellington!


Magnificent Three: Neesham-Watling-Brendon

Tuesday, the 18th of February, 2014. A glorious day for New Zealand Test Cricket. The whole of this cricketing country came to an ecstatic standstill concentrating on the happenings in the second Test against India in Wellington, cheering every run taken by their hero cricketers and cheering particularly one big hero named Brendon McCullum. From overnight 571 for 6 New Zealand decided to carry on for those great reasons that made their countrymen proud. Skipper Brendon McCullum became the first New Zealand batsman to achieve a triple hundred in the country’s 84 years of Test Cricket history. From 281 not out overnight he continued to show his grace and power achieving the target very soon. His historic 302 created one of the greatest landmarks for NZ cricket. Besides, Jimmy Neesham became the first No.8 batsman to hit a hundred on debut. And more, NZ also created the record for its highest ever innings total of 680 runs in Test history. Finally, they won the Test Series against India 1-0 coming after their triumph over West Indies recently. The Kiwis carried on almost till lunch for achieving all these. In the bargain they reduced the number of overs for the Indian reply to 67 from a possible 90 overs on the fifth and last day of the final test. For languishing India this must be interpreted as a big favor enabling them to draw this Test and escape with a 1-0 margin of Series defeat.

Facing just 67 overs to survive for a draw Team India still managed to create the opportunities of defeat to lose the Series 2-0, tottering and losing the first three wickets for just 54 runs on board. It could have been 33 for 3 if Virat Kohli was given out caught by the umpires as there seemed to be an edge. Fortunately, after that blemish Virat Kohli took full charge and started playing delightful shots all around the park. In a great effort to save India from another overseas defeat he notched up his sixth Test hundred. He remained not out on 105 off 135 balls with his steady partner Rohit Sharma on 31 not out at India 166/3 when the two captains decided on a draw. The Scorecard:

Indian captain Dhoni was an example of stoicism as he found no problem at all with his ‘young’ team while addressing a press conference later. He reiterated that his bowlers bowled in the ‘right areas’ and that his ‘young’ team performed very well in South Africa and New Zealand. Well, if the Indian skipper is so obsessed with his young team then what exactly an ‘oldie’ like him is doing in the team! Later this month Team India will be on familiar turfs for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. They, particularly the captain, would need to do well desperately just to ward off their continuing overseas nightmare to some extent and to continue getting ‘insulated’ by the equally insulated mentors at home—especially when IPL-7 is also round the corner. But then, familiar turfs would never help the team as far as overseas performances are concerned. With the limited-over games galore next three months loads of money are bound to be generated for the Board and its players. So who cares!
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