India were looking to turn things around in the test arena after losing the ODI series 3-0 to New Zealand. The visitors are the number one test team in the world; head coach Ravi Shastri said in the lead up to the game that they were going to think and play like the number one test team in the world.
India Struggle Against Pace
India definitely did not play like the number one team in the world as they struggled in all departments against the Kiwis. New Zealand won the toss and had no hesitation in asking India to bat as they wanted to take full advantage of the home conditions.
The big concern going into the first test was whether the openers would be able to blunt the new ball and put together a partnership. Prithvi Shaw did not have a good game but his opening partner Mayank Agarwal played a lot better. However, the Indian batting unit did not have any answers to the swing of Tim Southee and the pace of Kule Jamieson. The two bowlers picked up 4 wickets each in the first innings and bowled India out for 165.
Virat Kohli who had a poor ODI series once again struggled to find his touch in the test arena. Ajinkya Rahane top scored with 46 in the first innings and Agarwal was the second highest scorer.
Experienced Players Shine For NZ
India knew that they needed to dismiss the Kiwis for under 200 if they were going to stand any chance of competing in this game. Ishant Sharma got Tom Latham early but that brought the New Zealand captain to the crease.
Kane Williamson played a captain’s innings and built a partnership first with Tom Blundell (30) and then with the experienced Ross Taylor (44). Williamson went on to make an impressive 89 and the Kiwis were looking set to make a big score. However, Ishant Sharma bowled aggressively and got the Kiwis in trouble as he picked up quick wickets in the middle order and brought India back into the game.
The Kiwi tale wagged as Jamieson (44) and Trent Boult (38) made quick runs in the end and brought New Zealand back into the game. I Sharma finished with 5 wickets but received very little support from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohd Shami who were expensive. New Zealand managed to get to 348 and were clearly the team that was dominating the test match.
India Get Scuttled Out Again
When you fail in the first innings, it is always going to put pressure on the batsmen to perform in the second innings. Shaw once again departed early but Agarwal put his head down and fought hard. He turned out to be the highest scorer in the second innings with 58. Pujara and Kohli failed yet again in the second innings and it looked like it was just going to
be a matter of time before the Kiwis wrapped up the innings. The Indian batsmen made that job easy as they did not put up much of a fight and surrendered tamely.
The experienced due of Boult and Southee once again delivered for the Kiwis in the second innings. Southee was the chief destroyer yet again taking 5 wickets in the second innings and Boult picked up 4 wickets to dismiss India for 191. India managed to narrowly avoid an innings defeat and set the Kiwis a target of 9 to win. The Kiwis got that in no time and ended up winning by 10 wickets.
India will now find it hard to bounce back after consecutive defeats in the ODI and test arena!