1st Test: Rachin Ravindra sees off Ashwin, Jadeja threat as India, New Zealand play out thrilling draw in Kanpur
- In what will go down in history as one of the most thrilling finishes to a Test match, India and New Zealand played out a nail-biting draw in the first match of the series in Kanpur.
In what will go down in history as one of the most thrilling finishes to a Test match, India and New Zealand played out a nail-biting draw in the first match of the series in Kanpur. New Zealand's last-wicket pair of Ajaz Patel and debutant Rachin Ravindra played out 52 balls and kept India waiting for the last wicket as lights began to fade in the final half hour of the day.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin combined to take seven wickets, giving India a sniff. With India picking up five wickets in the final session of Day 5, it felt as if a 1-0 lead was on the cards, but with deteriorating light being a factor, Patel and Ravindra saw off the final seven overs as New Zealand ended the day on 165/9.
In pursuit of a 284-run target, resuming their second innings on the final day on 5/1, New Zealand kept India at bay as opener Tom Latham and ‘nightwatchman’ Will Somerville negated the Indian attack. Not only did the pair forge a crucial 76-run stand for the scored, they scored at a reasonable rate, raising hopes of an improbable win.
The second session is where things began turning around for India. In the first over after lunch, a set Somerville pulled Umesh Yadav to fine leg where Shubman Gill took a sharp, low catch to break the partnership. Skipper Kane Williamson joined the in-form Latham, who brought up his second half-century of the match to become the first visiting player in 11 years to score fifties in both innings of a Test match in India.
Latham’s resistance was cut short by Ashwin, who cleaned him up to become India’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, and when a scratchy looking Ross Taylor was out LBW to Jadeja last ball before tea, India had wrested the advantage. Things tilted even further in favour of the hosts, with Henry Nicholls, skipper Kane Williamson and Tom Blundell in a massive turnaround.
With lights beginning to dip and India needing three wickets in the final 15 overs, the scenario at the Green Park stadium had all the makings of a thrilling finish. With the prospect of New Zealand winning down to zero, the BlackCaps began playing for time. Jadeja, Ashwin and Axar produced a few close moments, but with the light fading, New Zealand held on to make sure they head into Mumbai confident.