Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3 for _    AFP
Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3 for 45 AFP

Kane Williamson won the toss, and New Zealand got what they wanted. Virat Kohli called it wrong, but got what he had planned for anyway: New Zealand lost the top three wickets for 27 runs.

Martin Guptill scythed two deliveries for boundaries. He did not have enough room for execution, but the pace of the track made his strokeplay easier. An over later Bhuvneshwar Kumar pushed the length further, keeping the ball in the corridor of uncertainty. Unable to leave the ball, Guptill edged it to MS Dhoni.

Jasprit Bumrah soon joined the act. Bowling away from the crease, he got one to snort back into Williamson s defence and trapped him LBW. Williamson asked for a review: the replay showed that the ball would have hit middle-and-leg.

Colin Munro continued with his aggressive brand of cricket. He shimmied down and smacked Bhuvi over his head for a six. However, Bhuvi soon outfoxed him with a knuckle ball. The ball dipped in late and sailed through Munro s bat and pad: it looked like a slow in-swinger, with the seam pointing towards leg-slip.

Local boy paces up the innings

Kohli, however, was hungry for more. It was only 11th over, and he passed the ball to Kedar Jadhav, who had taken 6 wickets against New Zealand in 2016 ODI series. With a low-arm action, Jadhav kept the in-form pair of Ross Taylor and Tom Latham on their toes. Neither could the New Zealanders sweep like they did at Mumbai nor could they dance down the track, for Jadhav bowls slow and low with minimum pace. His first 4 overs conceded a mere 12.

This helped Hardik Pandya take a risk of mixing up the pace. Taylor did punch well through cover for four, but Pandya surprised him with a bouncer in the same over. With very little time to react, all Taylor could manage was an edge. Latham and Taylor, who had added 200 runs in the first ODI, could score 31 runs together. New Zealand were 71 for 4 in 18.3 overs.

Jadhav continued bowling from one end. Before the opposition could realise he completed 7 overs. It was the Dhoni tactic that Kohli practised: finish as many overs as fast as possible in order to disrupt the opposition s momentum. The ploy worked as Jadhav bowled at an economy of 3.4, keeping New Zealand unaware of the run rate.

Latham fails to sweep

This, for that matter, also helped Akshar Patel. Given Latham was prevented from sweeping, his urge to execute one invited his downfall. Coming around the wicket to change the angle, Akshar pitched on middle to invite Latham to play his favourite stroke. Latham got his front leg way outside off but exposed the stumps in the process. He failed to connect and got himself knocked over. The shot that had taken New Zealand to glory at Mumbai saw them lose their fifth wicket on 118 at Pune.

Colin comes to the grand party

Meanwhile, Henry Nicholls had got 30. He was now joined by Colin de Grandhomme. He wasted no time. With a big backlift and rubbery wrists, the fours and sixes he hit were a delight to watch. The strong forearms allowed him to cut without arching his back, while he easily flicked over mid-wicket with the back leg in the air. His knock was the highlight of the innings. The commentators could not hold themselves back from singing his praises.

De Grandhomme continued, but Nicholls could not protect his defence. Bhuvi s in-dipper disintegrated the stumps. Nicholls fell for 42 off 62.

Chahal spins a web

There was a reason India replaced Kuldeep Yadav with Akshar while retaining Chahal in the playing XI. Kuldeep can give India wickets at tough intervals, but Chahal is a smarter bowler than we understand.

Kohli showed audacity and continued with Chahal in the death overs. Chahal did not disappoint. He bowled wide and full to de Grandhomme, thinking that the big New Zealander would anyway go for a heave. De Grandhomme did what Chahal forced him to, edging it to short third-man.

Chahal was not done for the over. He removed Adam Milne off the next delivery. It was unfortunate for Chahal that Tim Southee did well to deny a hat-trick.

New Zealand keep fighting

Mitchell Santner hit two fours and a six to compile his 29 runs. Tim Southee, too, used the long handle to devastating effect. Although they ended up at 230 runs they lost only 3 wickets in he last 12.1 overs, scoring 65.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 230 for 9 (Henry Nicholls 42; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 fo 28) vs India

Full scorecard