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)

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 22, 2014 (18:30 IST)   at St George's, Grenada

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 23, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Hambantota

India tour of England 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Bristol

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (00:00 IST)   at Basseterre, St Kitts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

More

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 21, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 20, 2014  at St George's, Grenada

West Indies won by 3 wkts

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 19, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 61 runs

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 17, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 93 runs

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014  at London

England won by an innings and 244 runs

Photos

England Women vs India Women 2014, 1st ODI at Scarborough

Videos

Hughes explains technique behind cut shot

India still in a position to succeed against England in ODIs

13 things you may not know about Ravi Shastri

Duncan Fletcher speaks out; explains why Team India failed in the Test series against England!

Science of slip fielding: What might be wrong with Team India’s slip cordon

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 MS Dhoni Pakistan Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Ravi Shastri Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe

Sachin Tendulkar helped to mentally prepare for England tour: Suresh Raina

Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma will marry soon; BCCI’s reason for granting permission

Suresh Raina: India must show character after Test mauling in England

Quinton de Kock does not indulge in planning before a game

India team manager was unhappy with Anushka Sharma accompanying Virat Kohli

India tour of England 2014: Visitor’s recent record in overseas ODIs a cause for concern

India tour of England 2014: Duncan Fletcher’s see-saw coaching career could be at its end

India tour of England 2014: Is county cricket really the answer for Indian batsmen?

India vs England 2014: Ideal opportunity for Sanju Samson and other youngsters to shine

Statistical review of West Indies’ top order struggles in ODIs

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

660 Posts | 6 Fans

Funny Cricket Wonders and Blunders

Ebola in West Africa: Gambia on high alert

Monkey doesn’t own his selfie: US regulator

Arun Jaitley says December 16 gang-rape case hit tourism; Nirbhaya`s father disappointed

Indian online market set to explode: Google study

Quinton de Kock does not indulge in planning before a game

Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma’s Bombay Velvet to release in May 2015!

Hot scoop: Karan Johar and Rohit Shetty to join hands for Ram Lakhan reboot!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Jose Mourinho takes the plunge

Amit Shah meets Chandrababu Naidu

India team manager was unhappy with Anushka Sharma accompanying Virat Kohli

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here