India win second New Zealand Test to clinch series324 views
India’s bowlers propelled the hosts to a comprehensive 178-run win over New Zealand in the second Test Monday, to clinch the series and reclaim top spot in the world rankings.
Chasing 376 runs for victory, New Zealand were bowled out for 197 in the final session on the fourth day in Kolkata, with India’s Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja taking three wickets each.
Shami claimed the final wicket of Trent Boult, sparking celebrations in the Indian team, who take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, after winning the first Test in Kanpur.
The victory also sees India jump back to the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings after starting the series just one point behind arch-rivals Pakistan.
Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took five scalps in the first innings, shared 12 wickets between them on a two-paced track at Eden Gardens that offered the seam bowlers of both sides great help.
India skipper Virat Kohli paid tribute to his bowlers, but also praised wicketkeeper and batsman Wriddhiman Saha, named man of the match for his unbeaten half-centuries in both innings against New Zealand’s aggressive seamers.
“Saha was brilliant. He’s the best keeper in the country. He’s doing a great job in Test cricket,” Kohli said.
“That hundred in the West Indies really improved his confidence. He understands how to bat with the tail now,” he added, referring to Saha’s recent performance in the Caribbean.
Spinners also played a key role in India’s victory, with Ashwin breaking New Zealand’s opening stand just after lunch, trapping Martin Guptill lbw for 24.
Tom Latham scored a gritty 74 before also falling to Ashwin soon after the tea break.
Ashwin dismissed Latham with a well-crafted off-spinner that pitched and spun away from the left-hander, who was caught behind.
Latham’s 49-run second-wicket partnership with Henry Nicholls had raised the visitors’ hopes of batting the day out but Ashwin’s partner Jadeja struck soon afterwards.
Jadeja claimed Nicholls’s wicket after his angled delivery caught the edge of the New Zealander’s bat for an easy catch in the slips.
Shami got some reverse swing towards the end of the day to dismiss Mitchell Santner and BJ Watling.
Earlier India, who resumed the day on 227 for eight in their second innings, were bowled out for 263, with Saha scoring an unbeaten 58.
The contributions of Saha, who scored an unbeaten 54 in the first innings, proved vital to India putting up decent totals.
– Humid conditions –
New Zealand pacemen Boult, Matt Henry and Neil Wagner, who shared 14 wickets between them in the two innings, also enjoyed the seaming conditions.
“Very impressive, the way the bowlers got stuck in in hot, humid conditions. We put India under pressure, but credit to them for withstanding it,” said stand-in-skipper Ross Taylor.
India’s pace duo of Shami and Kumar helped bowl out New Zealand for 204 in response to India’s 316 in the first innings.
India secured a 112-run lead in the first innings that proved vital in gaining the upper hand against the visitors, who lost regular skipper Kane Williamson to a viral infection just before the start of the match.
Rohit Sharma’s dominant 82 on Sunday put India in a powerful position in their 250th Test at home.
“I guess anytime you have a 112-run deficit, you’re always under pressure. We got some early wickets, but the partnership between Saha and Rohit took it away from us,” said Taylor.
The final Test will be played in Indore starting on October 8.
Courtesy: Daily Mail