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Pleasant surprise for the visitors

cricket Updated: Nov 06, 2010 23:50 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It's too early to say that Jesse Ryder and Kane Williamson will play leading roles in the resurrection of New Zealand cricket and imprudent to think they have shepherded their team to safety in the first Test here. The two have to pass the test of durability and India can still return to the driving seat in this game.

Without trying to see what the distant and immediate future has in store, let's stay in the present and appreciate how these two youngsters stopped premature celebrations in the stands. Not too many times in recent memory have two newcomers to India frustrated the hosts for this long after they had already smelt blood.

If inexperience was the problem for debutant Williamson, fighting inner demons was Ryder's challenge. Much more has been written about Ryder's drunken dramas than his unquestionable talent and like a true warrior, he rose to the occasion when New Zealand needed him desperately. His century was as much about resolve as about ability. Dismissing two set batsmen just before lunch was reason enough for India to think that the New Zealand tail was just a few wickets away. That was not to be.

"No one expected these two to do as well as they did," said Brendon McCullum about Ryder and Williamson. "The way they played was exceptional. They are our best bets for the No. 5 and 6 positions. Today, they deserve all the credit for bringing us back into this match."

Speaking afterwards, Sreesanth said the bowlers were ineffective because of the benign nature of the pitch and that things could have been different had the catches been taken. He had a point. "Put them on a turning track and they will struggle.”

Even that assessment might be correct. But then, we are not looking at the future or hypothetical situations here.
Feet firmly in the present, it has to be accepted that because of Ryder and Williamson, New Zealand are alive in the first Test - surprising thousands of cricket experts in India.

This duo's efforts also ensured that this Test series starts on a positive note, with indications of an even contest. Odds were and may still be heavily against such a scenario, but Ryder and Williamson have proved that this New Zealand side has the stomach for a fight.