India vs New Zealand – Test Match Review 6-9 Feb 2014

New Zealand won the match on Day 5 by 40 runs!!
India’s misery continues!!
900+ days since India won a Test match abroad..!!
Why did this happen?

Lets rewind a few days back!!

Day 1:
New Zealand batted well, or you can say our bowlers just bowled poorly to concede runs
Can you believe the fact that, being a test match, they scored over a rate of 4 runs per over!!
The score they set was 500+ with Brendon Mccullum scoring a double hundred (224)

Day 2:
India well, just couldn’t do much could they?
Not only was the bowling bad, but also was the batting!!
India all out for 202… well below Mccullum’s score of 224..
Such a shame!!
11 batsmen couldn’t score what one guy did..!!

Day 3:
New Zealand gave a below par performance in their batting, Or you can say that India’s bowling found their zing back, as they rattled the home team for a total of 105..!!!
That gave India a target of  407.
India batted decently to finish the day 4 on a high note at 87/1 in 25-30 overs!
That meant India needed around 320 odd runs in 80-90 overs. Possible to win right?

Let it be known that from the time, Test cricket was born, there have been over 2000+ tests played, only 4 instances where a team has chased down a total of 400+
Will India do the impossible was the question doing the rounds!!

India started on a high note with Virat kohli scoring a fifty (67) and Shikhar dhawan regaining his lost form to score a well deserved century. (115)
After tea, the score stood at 270/5
India needed just 139 runs with 30-35 overs to spare!!
Pretty good for the team!!
The match was tilting towards India’s favour!
Now the team knew that The home team would come on full attack mode and will try to take the wickets down asap!!
The first Ball after tea saw Tim Southee, NZ’s best and most experienced bowler pick up the wicket of a settled Rohit Sharma!!
The match came back to NZ’s favour!!
With Jadeja on crease, It was a dim ray of light on India’s chances of winning!!
For what its worth, they both started hammering the home team by coming up with a partnership of 50 within 32 balls!!
Too quick right? they should have slowed down, but Jadeja had other plans. He went for another delivery to transfer it to the boundary but got caught within the 30 yard circle!! He got out for 26.
India’s hopes fell down immediately.
With 89 runs needed, Zaheer Khan came on crease.
He managed to keep Dhoni company and hit 17 valuable runs!!
Then Dhoni almost never allowed Ishant to play one delivery and kept the strike with himself.
He got out on 39 thereby completely diminshing India’s hope for a miracle!!
India lost by 40+ runs
New Zealand were delighted with their victory and their captain Brendon Mccullum was awarded the M-O-M performance of 224.

What went wrong for India:

1) Over dependency on batting is what made India’s downfall evident.

2) No depth in the bowling line up meant the same bowlers got hammered every match!!

3) Reserves were not given a chance:
Ishwar Pandey, Amit mIshra were good picks but were sidelined.. why?
In the reserves game with the home team reserves, Ishwar Pandey took 3 wickets. He is quicker than our pack too!!

4) Our bowlers are not fast enough. I don’t mean to insult but the foreign team players are far more used to playing to speeds above 140.. Apart from Vaunt Aaron and BC Kumar i haven’t seen pacers reaching that speed on consistent levels.

5) If not pace, then we all know Glen McGrath. Did he need pace?
No.. he used line and length to utmost utility. He was a delight to watch during his career.
So if our players can’t reach that speed, why can’t they bowl a suitable line and length to minimize runs!!
That’s one thing which can be done right?

6) Our team of selectors and many fans believed that youth are the future!!
I do agree, but only till a certain part.
If you all remmember, we won the World Cup, due to the experience of all our senior players!!
the youth put up their best performance, but they need a guide!!
Unfortunately, apart from the captain and Zaheer we have none!

7) The key is to bring back certain players so that the team can re-balance!!
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag..
I know they have been given enough chance, but even our opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has failed to deliver throughout for months!!
Thus we do need a little experience on the top and let me remind you, After Sachin and Sourav, we have never had a better opening pair then Sehwag and Gambhir.
The Delhi boys have given us consistent openings with scores of 50+

8) The pack of bowlers needs to be changed.
Zaheer at 32+ is still picking up wickets consistently, why can’t our youngsters do that?
Get some players who have been playing in the Ranji Trophy.
They would be hungry enough and motivated to make their name in this game!!

9) The middle order is burdening Cheteshwar Pujara!!
That lad is good, but needs company also.

These are my views on this test.
if changes are not made, then it wont be a surprise if we loose the next test too..!!

My verdict- New Zealand are weaker than our side in actual terms, they are playing normal cricket, we aren’t… We need to strike, and connect, and I’m sure we can win the next match!

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