India vs New Zealand: Seemed like a lower order batsman - Harbhajan Singh tears into Ajinkya Rahane after struggles against short ball
A late rearguard action by Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner reduced the difference between India and New Zealand to just seven runs at the end of the first innings. On a surface where the ball was still moving around, the task was cut out for the Indian batting order. However, Trent Boult got New Zealand off to a great start as he got rid of Mayank Agarwal early in the proceedings.
Prithvi Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara then tried to rebuild but New Zealand kept coming back and applying pressure and they got the reward when they dismissed both Shaw and Virat Kohli in quick succession. This then brought in Ajinkya Rahane to the crease and this is where, New Zealand bowlers resorted to the short ball tactic.
Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner were relentless and kept hammering the ball in short and this created all sorts of problems for Rahane. He was hit on his gloves, on his body and even copped a few blows on his helmet. He then resorted to shuffling across the stumps and taking the ball on but did not look convincing.
Harbhajan Singh, who was on commentary, was not convinced with Rahane’s approach and lashed out at the right-hander for not being able to cope with the short ball. He said that Rahane was playing like a tail-ender and not like a top-order batsman. He even said that it was Rahane’s worst innings and the way Wagner was bowling at him, it seemed as if there was a lower-order batsman at the other end.
India ended the day on 90 for 6 and they lead New Zealand by 97 runs. This match is still wide open and the pitch has enough assistance to keep the bowlers interested. India would hope to stretch their lead to around 200 to put New Zealand under pressure when they come out to chase the target down.