Young blood, steady hand does the job

  • Khurram Habib, Hindustan Times, Bangalore
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 04, 2012 01:51 IST
  • Virat Kohli-R Ashwin

    Man of the Match Virat Kohli and Man of the Series R Ashwin pose for lensmen after India won the 2nd test match and series ...

  • India beat New Zealand

    Indian team players and officials pose for photographers as they jubilate after winning the 2nd Test match to win the two test match series against ...

  • Virat Kohli

    Virat Kohli celebrates after India won the match and the series against New Zealand on the fourth day of their second test cricket match in ...

  • India beat New Zealand

    Members of Indian cricket team, from left, Ravichandran Ashwin, Virat Kohli, Pragyan Ojha, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina and Umesh Yadav pose with the winners trophy ...

  • Virat Kohli

    Virat Kohli celebrates India's win over New Zealand in 2nd test match in Bangalore. (PTI Photo by Shailendra Bhojak)

  • India beat New Zealand

    New Zealand's captain Ross Taylor (L) and wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum (R) watch as India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hits the winning boundary to win the ...

  • An Indian Cricket fan waves tri-colour

    An Indian Cricket fan waves tri-colour during the 4th day of the 2nd test match against New Zealand in Bangalore. (PTI Photo by Shailendra Bhojak)

  • Sachin Tendulkar

    Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot during the 4th day of the 2nd Test match against New Zealand in Bengalore. (PTI Photo by Shailendra Bhojak)

  • MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli

    This file photo shows MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli celebrating after India won the two-match test series against New Zealand in Bangalore in November 2012. ...

  • Kruger Van

    New Zealand's wicketkeeper Kruger Van Wyk holds a ball as he sits near the boundary rope during the fourth day of their second test cricket ...

Patience and poise pulled it off.

Asked a tough question with a 261-run target, India answered with their youngsters. Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli battled it out to take India to a five-wicket win, and with it, seal the season's first Test series 2-0.

First, Pujara patiently tackled the short balls, his undoing in the first innings, and displayed nous even as Sachin Tendulkar struggled at the other end. Then, Virat showed poise, curbing his natural instincts to help MS Dhoni take India home.

The fourth day of the second Test was fought with vigour. The young Kiwi pacemen, in their early 20s, shrugged off early nerves to fight back, but were undone by the Indian duo.

MS Dhoni plays a shot during the fourth day of the second Test match in Bangalore. AFP

First salvo
When India came out to bat, their task was made easier by the nervous Kiwi pacemen. Both Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, so good at giving flying starts, walked in with confidence and ensured the first few shots were off the meat of the bat.

Gambhir clipped the first ball off his toes and then cashed in on the width offered by Trent Boult later in the over with a four.

In the second over, Sehwag flicked the first ball to the square leg fence. A nervous Tim Southee then bowled wide, which was dispatched to the boundary as well.

The two had gathered 77 runs before Sehwag became a victim of indiscretion, bowled by Jeetan Patel as he stepped out, having hit the off spinner for a six the ball before. Gambhir followed soon after, fishing outside off against Boult.

Bouncer ploy
The Kiwis smelt blood with a nervy Tendulkar and young Pujara in. Attacking Pujara's head was the plan as it was fruitful in the first innings.

This time too, he was ready to fall into the trap. He hooked one which he wasn't in command of, before deciding to be more patient.

Perhaps, it was a result of a brief chat Tendulkar had with him. Pujara left the remaining short balls, once beautifully, with the body arching backwards, and played one down the ground. For the rest, he was ready. His body and bat followed his mind even after Tendulkar had been castled, playing across once again.

Suresh Raina tried to repeat the panache he showed in the first innings but fell awkwardly. Watching Virat would have been apt for him.

Gautam Gambhir plays a shot during Day 4 of the second Test match between India and New Zealand in Bangalore AFP/Manjunath Kiran

Patience pays
Virat was on the money, leaving and defending everything the Kiwis threw at him. But he was aware of the opportunities. Off the 16th ball, an exquisite cover drive came out of nowhere and broke the inertia. A straight drive followed and then he went back into a shell. Later, he drove Patel through the cow's corner, his feet to the pitch of the ball.

The fight was on.

Dhoni's arrival helped the flow of runs and he made it easy by picking quick singles. The Kiwis were tiring and towards the close both Dhoni and Virat went into the one-day mode.

In the morning, India had snared the last New Zealand wicket early with the unlucky Zaheer Khan finally getting a scalp. He could have picked a handful of wickets in this series but for dropped catches, umpiring errors and a ball shaving the stump without the bails falling. But this time, the umpire ruled in his favour, despite there being no edge.




also read

Sachin bowled thrice in a row in NZ series

blog comments powered by Disqus