India win series against NZ 5-nil
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India win series against NZ 5-nil

India's Gen Next thumps New Zealand in the last ODI to effect a second series whitewash. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya reports. Swept aside | India in clean sweep | Gambhir's opinion | Scoring graph

cricket Updated: Dec 11, 2010 01:08 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times

New Zealand had put up their biggest fight of the One Day International series in the fourth match in Bangalore before bowing to a monster innings from Yusuf Pathan. It takes less than an hour to fly from there to this seaside city, but Friday's fifth one-dayer showed the visitors had lost their appetite for a fight in transit.

It was evident in the way their batmen were dismissed on way to being rolled over for 103 in 27 overs, New Zealand's lowest ODI total against India and the lowest total ever at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here.

There was an umpiring blunder that always seems to accompany a batting collapse when Amiesh Saheba gave Nathan McCullum out caught off the forearm. But the rest of the batsmen did themselves no favours as New Zealand survived just over half their allotted overs.

From Martin Guptill lamely hanging out his bat to a Praveen Kumar outswinger to Brendon McCullum walking across his stumps against Ashish Nehra and Grant Elliott taking a Yuvraj Singh arm ball flush on his pads, it was a sorry show after electing to bat.

And the real disappointment was the pitch had something in it for the bowlers but by not playing out their overs, New Zealand did not give their spin attack a total to defend. With the ball stopping on the wicket and Nathan McCullum and Daniel Vettori getting as much turn, if not the same bounce, as the Indian spinners, it could have been an interesting match if New Zealand had put up a score of 175 or more.

Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, India's form batsmen in the first part of the ODI series, departed early, but Parthiv Patel and Yuvraj Singh kept the scoreboard ticking with shots on both sides of the wicket.

Parthiv carried on the good work begun in the last match, his first international game in over two years. With two fifties in two matches, he has now pushed his case as a backup wicketkeeper for the ODI team who can also slot in at the top of the order.

It was good to see Yuvraj getting to the pitch of the ball, head down, defending with a straight bat or sending the ball to the boundary with flowing drives. And as the crowd chanted, "We want sixer, we want sixer," Yuvraj obliged by pulling one from Nathan McCullum beyond the boundary.

The match was over before the scheduled innings break.

For India, it was the perfect way to end the series. They completed their second 5-0 series win, after the one against England in 2008.

The win was also sweet revenge for something that happened in Dambulla last August. A lot has been said about New Zealand's 10 straight ODI defeats coming into this match, but that sequence began after they had bowled out India for 88 on way to a 200-run win in the opening match of the tri-series in Sri Lanka.

On Friday, the boot was on the other foot.

Gambhir finds four for special mention
Asked about individuals in the second-string side who made his job easier during the series against New Zealand, India's stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir named two youngsters looking to establish themselves in the India team, a man trying to put behind him failures in international cricket and another struggling for form before the World Cup.

R Ashwin, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan and Yuvraj Singh will derive a lot of confidence from Gambhir's words as they go back to domestic cricket with dreams of making it to the squads for the ODIs in South Africa and the World Cup after that.

First Published: Dec 10, 2010 18:10 IST