India wins in Style against the Kiwis
The Men in Blue yet again proved their supremacy on their home pitch, beating New Zealand by 5 wickets and a whole day to spare, today in Bengaluru in the second test match. Chasing a tricky target of 261, India started well, with Sehwag and Gambhir putting together 77 for the first wicket. Sehwag was the first one to go, outsmarted by off spinner Jeetan Patel, bowled at 38. Gambhir did not last too long after that, as runs dried out after Sehwag’s dismissal. Gambhir finally succumbed to a fine delivery by Trent Boult. The runs were almost down to a trickle and Cheteshwar Pujara along with master blaster Sachin Tendulkar began a mission to steady the ship. By lunch, it was still no sign of danger for India, even though it was 88 for 2. Post lunch, Pujara and Tenbdulkar got back to work again. Both the batsmen played well, punishing the bowlers when they strayed from the line and defending when required. Both carried on, posing problems for New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor. He seemed to be running out of ideas fast. Tea was taken early, due to a drizzle. At that stage India was comfortably placed at 147 for 2. However, post tea, the tables turned, albeit momentarily, as Pujara (48) and Sachin Tendulkar (27) got out in quick succession. While the little master again got his stumps uprooted, this time around by Southee, Pujara was deceived by Patel. Raina came in and went back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers. India was down from 147 for 2 to a miserable 166 for 5. India was definitely in a spot of bother now and Ross Taylor had a chance to smile. The chasing demons which have been chasing Indian team for a long time seemed to have resurfaced. But not this time around. Top scorer with a century from the first innings, Kohli and captain courageous MS Dhoni ensured that the demons were kept away.
Dhoni was unbeaten on 48, a sniff away from yet another test half century. On the other hand, Kohli picked up from the first innings and played beautiful shots all over the ground for his unbeaten 51. Both of them played their natural game, though with a certain doggedness and caution. They put together a fabulous 96-run partnership which was dotted with some good hits to the fence. Kohli was his flamboyant self, hitting picture perfect straight drives, cover drives. Dhoni on the other hand was no less, proving to be a strong support for the youngster. The run chase suddenly did not seem as ominous as it did some time back. The last 21 runs were scored in fours and a fantastic six by the captain was the nail in the coffin for the Kiwis. India clinched the test Series 2-0 with aplomb. Earlier in the test match, the New Zealand batsmen showed a lot of resolve and positive attitude, scoring 365 in the first innings. The highlight was of course Kiwi captain Ross Taylor, who crafted a good knock of 113. Taylor was supported well by Kruger Wan Wyk and Doug Bracewell who scored 71 and 43 respectively. The New Zealand bowlers too, did their job very well, spearheaded by Tim Southee. It appeared that New Zealand had not at all let the defeat in the first test get to their nerves. They were pumped up this time. Tim Southee was brilliant, snatching 7 Indian wickets for a mere 64 runs. The wickets included that of Gambhir’s and Kohli’s. It was a remarkable performance by Southee, considering that Indian pitches are generally believed to be conducive for the spinners. Southee ensured that New Zealand got a slim lead of 12 runs.
It was then over to Ojha, Ashwin and Zaheer Khan to restrict the Kiwi batsmen to the least possible total. R Ashwin and Ojha were amongst wickets again, with Ashwin adding yet another 5 wicket haul to his test match statistics. Ojha and Umesh Yadav got two wickets a piece while Zaheer Khan had to make do with one. New Zealand second innings was wrapped up on 248, setting India a target of 260. James Franklin (41), Taylor (35) and Van Wyk (31) were the top scorers in the New Zealand line up.
R. Ashwin deservedly won the man of the series, having got 18 wickets in 2 test matches and Kohli was rightfully adjourned the man of the match for his century in the first innings and match winning unbeaten half century in the second innings. The comparatively young and inexperienced Indian team, sans Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman was jubiliant, as Dhoni called them for a photograph with the winner’s trophy.