Home > Features >

India must be kicking themselves for losing 1st Test against New Zealand

India lost the first Test against New Zealand by a narrow margin of 40 runs in Auckland © Getty Images
India lost the first Test against New Zealand by a narrow margin of 40 runs in Auckland © Getty Images

By Ajit Agarkar

If nothing, the first Test between New Zealand and India proved beyond reasonable doubt that the longest format of the game is alive and kicking. Naturally, it was disappointing to see India fall 40 runs short of a famous win. A little bit of caution here and some decent umpiring there would have helped MS Dhoni & co. make headlines. But instead, the fact that stares us in the face is this: India have now lost 10 of their last 11 Tests on foreign soil. Sad but true.

The turning point of the fourth day’s play at Eden Park was Virat Kohli‘s dismissal. Arguably the world’s premier batsman today, Kohli did not put a foot wrong all day. I wonder what prompted him to employ the pull shot to a ball bowled outside the off-stump. He should have gone for the cut or, even better, let it go. Instead, he ended up bottom-edging it to wicketkeeper Bradley-John Watling, who took a whopping six catches in the innings. Not only did Neil Wagner end the defining 126-run partnership between Kohli and centurion Shikhar Dhawan, he also went on to complete a match-winning haul of 4/62.

Wagner was on wheels. A lion-hearted bowler, the left-armer also dismissed Dhawan with the old ball before delivering the knockout punch by dismissing Zaheer Khan and Dhoni during a hostile spell of 10 overs with the second new ball. He was running in from everywhere: over and round the sticks and dishing out all sorts of deliveries. In the end, it was his aggressive approach that stopped India in their tracks.

At 248 for four, India were very much in it. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane had already added 20 runs when umpire Steve Davis committed a howler. I wonder how he failed to spot the inside-edge. But that’s how it is: you win some, you lose some. Rahane was out leg-before off Trent Boult. It was the first delivery with the second new ball. When play resumed after tea, India needed 137 runs with five wickets in hand. A beautiful out-swinger from Tim Southee did Rohit in.

What followed was a counter-attack of the highest order. Both Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja know they aren’t the best of technicians. And that’s why they took the attack to the Kiwis by playing extravagant shots. The ploy worked, but only just. That’s high-risk batting for you. Should they have ‘cooled down’ a bit? Well, there are no ifs and buts in cricket. One thing led to another and Jadeja, Khan and Dhoni fell in the space of nine overs. Ishant Sharma’s dismissal sealed the deal in New Zealand’s favour.

The biggest positive of the day was Dhawan. I am glad he answered his critics, even though no cricketer plays with that intention. The good thing was that he wanted to grind it out. That’s not his natural game. But the fact is that Dhawan changed his game to suit the team’s requirement. He could have easily swung his bat around. But he played according to the situation.

All in all, India must be kicking themselves for losing the Test. Sunday’s mini-collapse notwithstanding, I firmly believe it all went wrong on Days One and Two. India had no business to concede 503 in the first innings. And they certainly could have posted more than 202. You can’t really expect yourself to win a Test match after conceding a 301-run lead. India came close, but the mistakes they committed in the first innings caught up with them.

(Ajit Agarkar represented India in over 200 matches and took 349 wickets. The above column first appeared in DNA from where its reproduced with permission)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 2 at Abu Dhabi: Pakistan reach 517/4 at tea

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Sri Lanka women’s senior player accuses selector of asking for sexual favours

Karnataka enter SK Acharya Memorial Trophy final

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Wriddhiman Saha fit for first ODI

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Cuttack curator says “dew factor” will come into play

MS Dhoni should remain India’s Test captain, says Adam Gilchrist

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here