Home > Features >

India’s bowlers paid rich dividends for their sterling efforts against New Zealand in 1st Test

Indian team © Getty Images
Indian team celebrate the run out of New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum © Getty Images

From a position of heading towards an embarrassing defeat to relative stability, India have to thank their bowlers for it. India’s fortunes in New Zealand seemed to be sliding downwards during the middle of the third day of the first Test in Auckland. But by the end of the day, there was a sense of calmness and hope that India could win the match. Shrikant Shankar analyses India’s bowling during New Zealand’s second innings and why they performed so well.

India won the toss and elected to bowl in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland. The conditions were right for the new-ball bowlers to take advantage early on Day One. They took early wickets, but some poor bowling combined with some very good batting from Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson propelled New Zealand to 503 in their first innings. India’s innings also started with a flurry of wickets going down, before an 87-run stand between Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane guided them.

But a collapse ensued and India were bowled out for 202 early on Day Three. At that time, they trailed New Zealand by 301 runs. Everything pointed to a comfortable New Zealand victory. Captain McCullum decided to bat again rather than making India follow-on. The decision was debated vehemently by commentators as many felt New Zealand should have made India follow-on. In hindsight, one could say it may not have been the right decision, but credit has to go to the Indian bowlers for that.

 

They came out firing on all cylinders. Mohammed Shami was unlucky to get only one wicket in the first innings as he bowled very well. Luck changed for him in the second innings and he struck in the first over by trapping Hamish Rutherford leg-before for a first-ball duck. The ball held its line from a good length and that was enough to hit the pads. The next to go was Peter Fulton. Shami bowled a full delivery and Fulton drove on the up, and Ravindra Jadeja took the catch at short extra-cover.

Shami was bowling it quite full and bowled it at pace with subtle swing either way — recipe for taking wickets in any condition. The New Zealand batsmen, who looked so imposing in the first innings, were tentative and eventually lost their wickets. Zaheer Khan dismissed Williamson with a back of a length delivery, but the credit would go to Jadeja for taking a stunning one-handed catch at short mid-wicket. Then just before lunch, McCullum was done in by another piece of stunning fielding by Jadeja as he was run-out.

After lunch, the Indian seamers did not let up the pressure and Shami led the way by bowling Anderson with an in-coming full delivery. Ross Taylor tried to stay at the wicket for as long as possible, but Zaheer got his number with a length delivery wide outside off-stump. Taylor played far away from his body and cut at it, only to edge it to Rahane at gully, who took a sharp catch. The reason Taylor went after it was probably due to the fact that it was a rare loose delivery amongst a host of full and straight ones. But when one is not settled in properly, things do not work so smoothly.

Tim Southee was dismissed by Jadeja and after that it was the Ishant Sharma show. He took six wickets in the first innings, but bowled well only in patches. If Shami and Zaheer bowled fuller length deliveries, Ishant bowled at a good length and made the ball bounce a bit more using his height to good effect. The length he bowled at was easier to hit for the batsmen, but it was also good enough to take wickets. BJ Watling’s excruciatingly slow innings came to an end with a rather back of a length delivery that kept a bit low from Ishant.

The ball took the edge and shattered the stumps. Ish Sodhi edged a good length delivery that held its line to Rohit at second slip. Neil Wagner tried to up the ante with average success and Ishant started bowling bouncers at him to intimidate him. He eventually got Wagner caught at deep backward square-leg by Jadeja as he attempted a pull. New Zealand were bundled out for 105 and India were set a target of 407. That was far better than what they would have hoped for when they were bowled out cheaply.

India lost the wicket of Murali Vijay early on, but an unbroken 51-run stand between Shikhar Dhawan (49) and Cheteshwar Pujara (22) has taken the score to 87 for one at stumps on Day Three. India need 320 runs to win and now they seem to have a better standing in the match. As for the Indian bowlers, Shami seems to adapt quickly to situations and does not seem to get bogged down by a lack of luck; and that is a good sign for India.

Zaheer may not be the bowler he once was, but his experience and wisdom will benefit in some way or the other. Ishant found some rhythm and bowled at a good length spot making the ball jump higher. That is exactly what shot him to fame all those years ago when he made Ricky Ponting, at the peak of his prowess, look like an amateur. Coming to the Test, New Zealand are still favourites to win, but India have a chance. And that chance has been provided by their bowlers. Now it’s up to the batsmen!

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Shaun Udal on India vs England 3rd Test

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Indian cricketers in County Championship: Career Statistics

Denesh Ramdin: Didn’t expect Sunil Narine to bowl Super Over maiden

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara — India’s most dependable partnership in recent times

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 3 at Southampton: MS Dhoni completes 31st half-century; India reach 323/8 at stumps

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

India tour of England 2014: Moeen Ali is developing as a spinner with every game, says Stuart Broad

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Draw the most likely result, feels Sunil Gavaskar

Stuart Broad: To go into the company of Wasim, Waqar and Walsh, Ambrose is a huge honour

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: No fracture for Ian Bell after being hit on thumb

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Disappointed in the manner I got out, admits Ajinkya Rahane

Moeen Ali – the part-timer keeps pegging India back with crucial wickets

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s sloppy batting and other highlights of play on Day 3

India’s poor shot selection gives England advantage on Day 3 of 3rd Test at Southampton

‘Yuvraj, Ganguly, Zaheer and Indian team to come together in support of my charitable cause’

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

FDI in telecom jumps manifold to $1.5 billion in April-May

What does Sharmila Tagore like about would be son-in-law Kunal Khemu?

Revealed: Salman Khan’s guest list for Eid party includes Karan Johar, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan!

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display given a speed boost, prices slashed across the range

India tour of England 2014: Moeen Ali is developing as a spinner with every game, says Stuart Broad

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Draw the most likely result, feels Sunil Gavaskar

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here