India Win Test Series 1-0 To Score The Maximum Points In WTC Rankings Crushing New Zealand In Mumbai!


It was inevitable that India would beat New Zealand in the Test Series decider in Mumbai after the Kiwis were bowled out for a pathetic 62 in their first innings giving India a lead of 263 runs; only the margin of the victory was of interest. It could have been by an innings and some runs had India enforced the follow-on at the last session of the second day. That surprising decision was somewhat explained by the Head Coach Rahul Dravid, happy with his first series win as a coach, that it was to give some batting experience to the Indian young guns and that there was no worry at all as India had ample time to bowl New Zealand out in the second innings. Perhaps, the decision was also to enable the inconsistent Pujara who came out to open in the second innings with Mayank and captain Kohli to have some batting practice too ahead of the South Africa tour starting from 26th of this month. And more importantly, considering the fact that India’s top order or middle order or both has been failing at most times in the recent matches covering all the formats with only the lower order performing consistently, it was possible that Team India might have been worried of chasing even 100 runs in the last innings, because the lower order could not be depended upon every time.

 

Whatever be the reasons for not enforcing the follow-on, India had beaten New Zealand by a mammoth margin of 372 runs in the morning session of the fourth day of the second and last Test match in Mumbai today thus winning the series 1-0 and scoring 42 in the WTC-2021-23 (World Test Championship) points table which is the highest for all teams so far; but due to India’s winning percentage of 58.33 being less than Sri Lanka’s 100% and Pakistan’s winning percentage of 66.66, India occupy the third position at the moment.

 

The Wankhede pitch, traditionally a bit difficult for free scoring, has been a mystery in this test match. After two days of continuous rain in the city prior to the day of start the pitch definitely had moisture underneath which should have helped the Kiwi fast bowlers attacking the Indian batsmen on the first morning. However, as it turned out, they, Southee and Jamieson prominently, failed to capture even a single wicket in both the innings while India’s Siraj got three scalps on the second day and Umesh Yadav also got a lot of help from the pitch. This leads to the incredible feat of the Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel taking all the 10 India wickets in the first innings and taking the tally to 14 in the match thus equaling Kumble’s record. Of the other Kiwi spinners, Rachin Ravindra and Somerville, only the former managed 3 wickets in India’s second innings.

 

Ajaz Patel’s feat of being the third bowler ever to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings has a unique twist as even after his incredible performance his team not only could not win, but suffered a mammoth loss and he failed to qualify for the player of the match or the player of the series. This was not the case with Jim Laker who took 19 wickets in that match against Australia in 1956 or Anil Kumble who took 14 in that match against Pakistan in 1998 with their respective teams registering huge wins over their opponents thanks to their feats. This does not reduce Ajaz’s marvelous performance in any way, his misfortune is that he happened to be a part of the losing team.

 

Mayank Agarwal was justifiably declared the player of the match for his definitive 150 in the first innings and 62 in the second innings. Ravichandran Ashwin was declared the player of the series for his consistent performance of taking 8 wickets in the match—4/8 in 8 overs in the first innings and another 4/34 in 22 overs in the second innings—which never allowed the visitors to launch a comeback in the match. Jayant Yadav chipped in with 4/49 in 14 overs in the second innings, restricting New Zealand to just 167 all out. Axar Patel starred as a batsman in both innings—extremely useful 52 and 41—apart from his 3 wickets.

 

The match would put the Kiwis in a lot of introspection as to what exactly led to the absolute surrender of their batsmen who defended the first test with a sensational draw and the fast bowlers languishing wicketless despite a helpful pitch. They are sure to rue for a long time the fact that they could not capitalize on Ajaz Patel’s record haul of wickets. As for India, Virat Kohli would be very happy to achieve the feat of winning 50 international matches each in all the three formats and this Series victory ahead of the South Africa tour. As he said after the match his team enjoys a veritable luxury of selecting players for the final eleven with the young guns firing and the rested seniors joining the team for the coming tour.

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