The New Zealand cricket team handed an old-fashioned thrashing to their visitors and romped home by 10 wickets with more than a day to spare. It was a match where the Kiwis excelled in all departments of the game, and left India reeling with their stupendous performance. With this win, the Blackcaps have registered an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series.
We now go to Christchurch for the second and final Test of the series starting on 29th February. On that note, let us look at three reasons why the Kiwis won the match.
#3 Failure of the Indian top order
The Indian top order flattered to deceive in swinging and seaming conditions. The wicket was not the easiest to bat on, and the Indian top order did not rise up to the occasion. In both the innings, three out of India’s top four batsmen could not even cross 20 runs. Prithvi Shaw departed for 16 and 14 in both the innings respectively. In the first innings he was castled by a peach of a delivery from Tim Southee, in the second innings Boult’s fiery pace undid the youngster.
Cheteshwar Pujara too was struggling to get going. In the first innings, Pujara consumed 42 balls to score 11 runs. He perished to a classic out swinger from Kyle Jamieson. In the second innings, Pujara’s stay lasted a painstaking 81 balls where he could muster just 11 runs.
Indian skipper Kohli too was at sea against the spirited New Zealand bowlers. In the first innings, Kohli played away from the body and was pouched at slip for just two runs. In the second innings, Trent Boult’s sharp bouncer proved to be his downfall. Kohli went for the hook, the ball took a faint edge and settled into the hands of the wicket-keeper. The Indian batting maestro departed for 19 in the second innings.
#2 The Boult-Southee show in the second innings
Trent Boult and Tim Southee hunted as a pair. The pace and swing of the duo were too much for the Indian batsmen to handle. While Southee picked up five wickets in the second innings, Boult accounted for four Indian batsmen.
Boult scalped three out of India’s top four in the second innings. While Prithvi Shaw was snared at short mid-wicket with a delivery that came in, Pujara was castled by a vicious in-swinger from the left arm seamer. Boult also accounted for the big fish, Virat Kohli. Boult came around the wicket and bowled a sharp bouncer to the Indian skipper.
All Kohli could do was edge the ball into the hands of BJ Watling. Boult also accounted for the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane on the morning of the fourth day.
On the other hand, Southee took out Mayank Agarwal with a delivery down the leg side. Agarwal was looking good, but edged the ball to wicket-keeper Watling. The right-arm seamer cleaned up Hanuma Vihari with a delivery that came in and took out the batsman’s off stump. Southee also accounted for the wickets of Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah to finish with a five-wicket haul.
#1 Williamson’s masterclass in the first innings
It seemed as if Kane Williamson was batting on a totally different wicket as compared to the other batsmen. The Kiwi skipper was in no discomfort and went about his business in a sedate and mellifluous way. He used the depth of the crease to good effect and flicked and drove with confidence. In a master class that lasted 153 deliveries, Williamson top scored in the match with 89. His knock was a case study on how to bat on a seaming wicket where the ball does not come on to the bat.
He put a crucial stand of 93 runs with Ross Taylor for the third wicket and literally batted India out of the game. His knock propelled the Kiwis to a total of 348 in the first innings and enabled them to obtain a stranglehold over the visitors. During his knock, Williamson also went past Brendon McCullum to become the third-highest runscorer for New Zealand in Test cricket.