India vs New Zealand: After letting the New Zealand tail wag a bit too much on Sunday, India’s top-order failed once again. Captain Virat Kohli, senior batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and opener Prithvi Shaw failed to trouble the scorers much as India are in danger of losing their 1st Test in the ongoing World Test Championship cycle.
India’s hopes of saving the 1st Test, let alone thinking about a win against New Zealand in Wellington hang by a thread after a dismal performance from the visitors on Sunday.
The biggest setback for India was another failure from captain Virat Kohli who is having a horror run with the bat in the ongoing tour of New Zealand. When his team needed him to step up and deliver with the bat, Kohli perished for 19 in the final session of Day 3, putting enormous pressure on the middle-order.
India reached 144 for 4 at Stumps on Sunday, still trailing New Zealand’s 1st innings total by 39 runs with 2 more days to go in what has been a one-sided Test so far at the Basin Reserve.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (25*) and Hanuma Vihari (15*) remained unbeaten after a 31-run stand for the 5th wicket to keep India’s hopes alive. Rahane, who top-scored with 46 in the 1st innings, looked fluent once again as he mixed caution with aggression wonderfully well towards the close of play.
India could not have asked for a better start to Day 3 as Jasprit Bumrah removed in-form New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling in the very 1st ball of the day. In the 4th over of the day, Ishant Sharma continued from where he left yesterday by removing Tim Southee who played an ordinary shot to depart for just 6.
New Zealand tail wags: 123 runs for last 3 wickets
At 225 for 7 early in the 1st session, it looked like India would mount a strong comeback and put pressure on New Zealand.
However, familiar problems returned to haunt India as they let the New Zealand tail wag, a bit too much. New Zealand added 123 runs for the last 3 wickets as Colin de Grandhomme played the anchor’s role and let debutant Kyle Jameison and Trent Boult go berserk.
De Grandhomme hit a composed 74-ball 43 as he held the New Zealand innings together after the quick dismissals of Watling and Southee on Day 3.
At the other end, debutant Kyle Jameison flaunted his batting prowess, hitting 44 in just 45 balls — a quickfire knock that had a boundary and 4 sixes.
Then came Trent Boult who had some fun at the middle. Hitting 5 boundaries and a six, the New Zealand tail-ender added 38 from just 24 balls to lift New Zealand to 348.
From what looked like they wouldn’t get more than a 100-run lead, New Zealand ended with a healthy 183-run lead.
Ishant Sharma, who was on top form on Saturday, added 2 more to his tally to pick up his 3rd 5-wicket haul in New Zealand, his 11th overall. Off-spinner R Ashwin removed De Grandhomme and Kyle Jamieson.
Another failure for Prithvi Shaw
Faced with the task of giving a good start to India in the 2nd innings, openers Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw walked in under a lot of pressure.
New Zealand, on the other hand, were clear with their plans. With the wickets in New Zealand to get relatively docile as the Test progresses, the visitors have made it a habit to rely on short-pitched bowling to get visiting teams out in the 2nd innings.
The pattern was followed once again. Trent Boult began the proceedings for New Zealand by picking up the wicket of opener Prithvi Shaw for just 14. The short-ball ploy worked as Boult targeted the young opener’s rib cage and made sure he was caught in the leg-side.
With a total of 30 runs in the Test, Prithvi Shaw has failed to repay the faith the selectors and the team management showed in him.
What was more worrying was Cheteshwar Pujara’s twin failure. After getting out for 11 in the 1st innings, Pujara fell for 11 once again, this time at the stroke of Tea. The solid No. 3 shouldered his arms to a Trent Boult delivery that came in from the angle only to see his off-stump going for a walk.
Mayank Agarwal fails to convert start into big knock
Just when it looked like Mayank Agarwal was getting into his groove, the opener fell for a well-made half-century. It is the 2nd time Agarwal has failed to carry on after getting a good start in the ongoing Test.
Trent Boult, who had expressed his desire to get Virat Kohli out before the Test, got his wish fulfilled. Just when the India captain was starting to look solid after a jittery start, Boult used a short ball to get Kohli caught behind for just 14.
Kohli has made just 201 runs in 9 innings in the ongoing New Zealand tour. His desperation to get bat on ball was visible in both the innings as he fell to shots that he could have easily avoided. Maybe a couple of hours in the practice match which he decided to skip would have helped!