Kanpur: Two cricketers of Indian descent, Ajaz Patel and Rachin Ravindra, demonstrated remarkable resilience under declining light and on a deteriorating track to challenge famous Indian spinners, making an exciting draw for New Zealand during the opening test here on Monday.
The Indian Spinners, led by Ravindra Jadeja, have had one of their most persevering performances in recent times, but Mumbai-born Patel (2 of 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Ravindra (18 of 91 balls) consumed 8 , 4 overs after the fall of the ninth wicket to keep New Zealand on a level playing field in the two-game series.
Much credit should also go to night watchman Will Somerville (36 of 110 balls), who played all fifth morning and who initially sparked visions of the unlikely draw.
A five-day match at an Indian spinning track impressed newly appointed national head coach Rahul Dravid, who announced Rs 35,000 as a thank you for the ground staff.
“We were playing in good areas, we knew we had time, but the light was always going to kick in in the last session. It happened every day of the match,” Indian senior Ravichandran Ashwin said afterwards. the exhausting day.
A 284 winning goal was still out of the question but the brave New Zealanders didn’t lose a wicket in the opening session of the final morning before the Indian spinners, who had saved their best to last, finally showed their skills but couldn’t end on a winning note.
The result at Green Park is the first time New Zealand have won 10 unbeaten test matches (eight wins, two draws) with the current streak starting against India in early 2020.
The last half hour has been a thriller with referees Nitin Menon and Virender Sharma checking the light and Ravindra appreciating Patel for every defensive shot forward.
Ashwin (30-12-35-3), Jadeja (28-10-40-4) and Axar Patel (21-12-23-1) must have really pushed hard but it showed once again that the Indian spinners may not be completely effective on trails that do not start to crack on at least the second day.
There was of course a weak rebound, but the slow turn made it easier to negotiate and the failure of the two senior leaders put immense pressure on the spin troika which still knocked down 17 of the 19 Kiwi wickets. But they could not take the very important final.
It has been one of India’s most contested home test matches in recent times and no one would fault New Zealand’s ‘good men’ for showing their products again in the face of adversity.
The only thing that favored India was the weak rebound as defending for a very long time was not an option.
After this draw, there are a few probing questions for the team before the next test.
There will be serious question marks regarding the place of substitute captain Ajinkya Rahane in the game with skipper Virat Kohli returning in the next match.
Veteran race leader Ishant Sharma (22 assists without a wicket in the game) looks completely discolored from England and his place in the eleven should be questioned.
Tom Latham (52 of 146 balls) scored his second fifty and, along with Somerville, became the key man to take the game deep into Day 5.
In the final context, even that of Kane Williamson (24 out of 112 balls) would mean a lot, as would Tim Blundell and Kyle Jamieson playing around 30 balls each.
It was small contributions that counted and in the end, a little luck also caught on.
The first session was key as Somerville confidently negotiated Umesh and Ishant to set the tone in the 76-point stand.
The second session certainly belonged to India as Umesh Yadav (1/34 in 12 overs) eliminated the night watchman with a short ball immediately after the restart. It was Shubman Gill who had a nice catch by diving forward to the limit of the long leg.
Williamson looked a lot more confident than his first innings effort as he hit a cover shot against Ishant, who was completely out of color that day while Latham also played his defensive game quite well.
However, the weak bounce knocked him down as he dragged one back during lunch after lunch. With that scalp, Ashwin in his 80th test, broke through Harbhajan Singh (417 in 103 games) to become the third-largest wicket-taker for India in the five-day format.
“I want to congratulate Ashwin on his milestone. Well done and I hope he wins many more matches for India,” Harbhajan told PTI.
“I never believed in comparisons. We played our best cricket at different times, against different oppositions. I had done my best for the country back then and ditto for Ashwin, he has done his best now. “Said the former Indian spinner.
But it will be a step that he will not appreciate very much because the team failed to win.
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