Kanpur: Virat Kohli and his men did the inevitable by winning the first Test match against New Zealand by 197 runs here on Monday to set a memorable milestone in the 500th test played by India.
On the fifth day, the New Zealand team were bowled out for 236 runs in their second innings, falling prey again to Ravichandran Ashwin, who spun a deadly web to capture six wickets of the visitors and claimed ten scalps in the match.
Ashwin, who recently reached the 200th Test wicket mark, becoming the second fastest in the world to do so, also made his 19th five-wicket haul in Test cricket while claiming ten wickets for the fifth time in a match.
Man of the Match Ravindra Jadeja picked up the wicket of Luke Ronchi (80) to arrest a 102-run partnership with Mitchell Santner.
Jadeja ended a successful campaign with six wickets and 94 runs in the match.
India headed into the day needing just six wickets to take a lead in the series.
Playing their 500th Test match, Indian skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first, scoring 318 runs in the first innings.
While Murali Vijay (65) and Cheteshwar Pujara (62) reached their respective half centuries and featured in a hundred run partnership, the rest of the batsmen barring Ashwin and Jadeja, failed to convert their starts.
The Indian bowlers were up to the task and restricted New Zealand for 262 runs, handing India a 56-run lead.
Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson and opener Tom Latham scored 75 and 58 respectively.
Among the Indian bowlers, Ravindra Jadeja and ravichandran Ashwin tormented the visitors, sharing 9 wickets among themselves, with the former picking up a fifer.
Starting their second innings, KL Rahul attacked the Kiwi bowlers from the onset, setting up the tone for the rest of the innings.
Though Rahul departed on the brink of tea time on day three, Pujara and Vijay continued to pile up the runs, starring in yet another century plus stand.
Both the batsmen scored fifties for the second time in the match but failed to reach the three-figure mark.
Wit the middle order firing for India propelled by Rohit (68 not out) and Jadeja’s (50 not out) 100-run partnership, India declared at 377 runs for the loss of five wickets, setting the visitors a steep target of 434 runs to chase and win the match.
Matters were made worse by the Kiwi openers who failed to negotiate Ashwin’s deliveries, leaving them reeling at 3 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Just as Williamson was settling in nicely, the off-spinner struck again, removing the Kiwi skipper for the second time in the Test match.
Ross Taylor survived some close shaves, but threw away his wicket in a bizarre manner, as he failed to ground his willow when a direct throw from Umesh Yadav dismantled the stumps.
Amid tensions in the Black Caps dugout out, Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner applied themselves to play out the session and negate any further damage.
Following Ronchi’s dismissal, it was Mohammad Shami who dented the hopes in the Kiwi camp with a fiery spell of pace bowling.
The pacer trapped BJ Watling with a swinging delivery and followed it up with the wicket of Mark Craig with the next one.
Craig, who has been ruled out from the series owing to a side strain, missed a ball which pitched in the off and swung back in to floor his middle stump.
Needing two wickets to win the game, Ashwin completed the formalities.
At the post match ceremony, kane williamson said, “The boys were positive throughout the match, but credit to India. They outplayed us with bat and ball. It was a two session period that the game slipped away from us. Restricting India to 300 odd on a good batting surface was a very good effort, but at the end of the day India were certainly the better team. The way Santner applied himself with both bat and ball was impressive and the way Luke Ronchi came back into the side and played with freedom was good to watch. It’s important that the boys recover nicely and we look forward to another challenge in Kolkata.”
Lauding his team’s performance, Indian skipper Virat Kohli said, “The boys applied themselves really well. We were in a spot of bother at times. Initially we had the momentum with the bat, but a couple of soft dismissals put pressure. Jadeja and Ashwin added crucial runs to dig us out. Those 30-40 extra runs make a psychological difference. I am still pretty early in my captaincy career, I look for advice from people around me.”
“There have been cases where we’ve gone on one mode and the runs were leaked. One learning that we are taking forward is when wickets aren’t coming, we need to be patient. All the sides that are doing well around the world have strong lower-middle orders. The tailenders also contribute. That’s one area that we have improved and we need to keep working on because those 30-40 extra runs could prove crucial,” he said
“It’s been a very good Test match. When New Zealand were batting well on Day 2, me and Ashwin had a chat about this Test match being an exciting game. We needed to play at our best to win. Credit goes to New Zealand as well. The reason why this game went to the second session on the fifth day was because of the character they showed,” he added.
India Blooms News Service