New Zealand won the first ODI against India by 24 runs at the McLean Park in Napier on Sunday despite a gritty century from Virat Kohli. The visitors were chasing 293 for victory.
Kohli started off aggressively, hitting 11 boundaries and two sixes to get to his 123. He put up a dazzling show during the batting power play that was taken in the 34th over.
However, despite a wonderful show, the elegant batsman fell to a soft delivery, tossing up a full toss to Jesse Ryder for an easy catch. Earlier, Ryder had dropped him on 95 while fielding at the same position.
While Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not match him shot for shot, the skipper gave him good support, getting his 40 almost at a run a ball. But he misjudged a Mitchell McClenaghan bouncer, giving a catch to Luke Ronchi behind the stumps.
Indian batsmen's weakness against the short ball was exposed again with as many as three batsmen falling to rising deliveries.
Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan, who shared the new ball for the hosts, peppered the Indians with short balls. It worked when Rohit Sharma (3) tried to pull McClenaghan but ended up giving an easy catch to Southee at the deep fine leg boundary.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli then gave the Indian chase some teeth, stitching together a partnership of 58 runs.
But then Dhawan (32) fell prey to the shorter delivery. He spooned a Corey Anderson delivery while trying to pull it, giving Ross Taylor an easy catch.
Ajinkya Rahane (7), the next man in, fell cheaply too when Nathan McCullum took a brilliant catch at mid off to get rid of him cheaply.
Suresh Raina (18) was greeted, quite predictably, with a barrage of bouncers as soon as he came. The first one took an edge and went for a boundary. But his luck ran out soon, as he miscued a pull to deep fine leg.
After Kohli departed, Ravindra Jadeja went without bothering the scorers to a rising delivery from McClenaghan. (Mention Kohli's dismissal)
The last hope was R Ashwin. He showed some positive intent too, hitting McClenaghan for a six over mid wicket. But he too fell soon enough for 12 when Southee took a brilliant diving catch in the deep.
The next over saw the end of the Indian tail, with Ishant Sharma getting bowled by Tim Southee.
Some powerful performances from the middle order saw New Zealand reach a competitive total of 292/7 in the first innings.
The hosts' innings featured a quickfire 42-run stand between Corey Anderson and Brendon McCullum, who took the fight right back to the Indian camp with some extremely aggressive batting.
Anderson (68*), the record holder for the fastest century in ODIs, made his intentions very clear when he hit an Ishant Sharma delivery out of the park, thus losing the ball. He would go on to do it twice more.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar came to the party at this point, removing Brendon McCullum (30). Dhoni, who was standing up to the wickets, took a sharp catch to remove his New Zealand counterpart.
However, it did little to ease the pressure on the visitors. The next partnership, between Anderson and Luke Ronchi cost them 66 runs. It took a brilliant catch from Kumar at backward point to remove Ronchi (30).
Earlier, Mohammed Shami struck twice in quick succession to put India firmly in control of the first ODI. Shami provided an early breakthrough, getting rid of the prolific Jesse Ryder for 18.
Ryder looked prolific as ever, lifting Kumar for a brilliant six to end the first over. But his innings was cut short by a fuller delivery from Shami. Ryder was in two minds and the ball ended up taking away his off stump.
Next to fall victim to Shami's tricks was the other opener Martin Guptill (8). Guptill had looked shaky all morning and when Shami changed his line to outside off, his patience wore thin and he slashed one to the safe hands of R Ashwin at first slip.
Things looked shaky for the hosts but then Ross Taylor (55) and Kane Williamson (71) steadied the boat with a 121 run stand for the third wicket.
Ravindra Jadeja finally got the breakthrough when Williamson lofted one straight to Ajinkya Rahane at silly mid-off.
Taylor too fell soon after, giving Shami his third, when he lost his patience and slashed at one way outside the off stump.
Of the Indian bowlers, the pick of the lot was Shami, picking 4 for 55 in his nine overs. Kumar too had a good outing, finishing his 10 for a stingy 387, with a wicket to show for it. Sharma and Jadeja shared one wicket apiece.
Earlier, defending his decision to bowl, MS Dhoni said: "The wicket looks good, dry and hard. Looks good for ODIs. Fast bowlers will get extra bounce. Intelligent bowlers may use the wind to their advantage, if you bowl in the right areas the ball may swing for a duration of time."
Commentary India Innings:
Commentary New Zealand Innings: