World Test Championship Final: India's top five Test run-getters against New Zealand
- As part of the build-up to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, we look at India's top five leading Test run-getters against New Zealand.
The last time India and New Zealand faced each other in an ICC event was the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup in England. Group-leaders India had ransacked every opponent barring England to make it to the final four of the CWC, only to be handed a heart-breaking defeat at hands of New Zealand, who edged the two-time World Champions by 18 runs. Almost two years later, the two teams return to England, this time for another high-profile contest – the final of the first-ever World Test Championship.
Between July of 2019 and June of 2021, India and New Zealand have played five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests, with India winning the T20I leg 5-0, and New Zealand taking ODIs 3-0 and Tests 2-0. Over the years the two teams have played 59 Tests, with India leading 21-12. Runs have flown from the bats of both teams. As part of the build-up to the final of the inaugural WTC, we look at India's top five leading Test run-getters against New Zealand.
1 Rahul Dravid (15 Tests: 1659 runs, 100s: 6, 50s: 6)
One of the pillars of India's batting during his time, Rahul Dravid leads the charts. With a solid average of 63.40. Dravid has been a prolific run-scorer in India-New Zealand Tests. In his first Test tour of NZ in 1997, Dravid became only the third Indian batsman to score a century in both innings of a Test match, and followed it with a knock of 144 two years later in Mohali. After just one fifty from four innings in New Zealand in 2002, Dravid pummeled a double century in Ahmedabad a year later. The runs didn't stop there. When India toured again in 2009, Dravid peeled off four fifties in three Tests. In 2010, in what would be his final Test series against the BlackCaps, Dravid hit two centuries in three Tests, with scores of 104 in Ahmedabad and 191 in Nagpur.
2 Sachin Tendulkar (24 Tests, 1595 runs, 100s: 4, 50s: 8)
The great Sachin Tendulkar is next in the list. Although he may have scored fewer runs in nine more Tests as compared to Dravid, Tendulkar has played some impactful knocks against the New Zealand. During his first tour in early 1990s, Tendulkar endured a heart-break when he would miss out his maiden Test ton by 12 runs in Napier. In fact, Tendulkar would go without scoring a century against New Zealand in his first seven Tests, before finally breaking the jinx during the 1997 tour.
In 1999, scored 126 not out in Mohali and followed it with his maiden Test double ton in Ahmedabad. In 2002, every Indian batsman, including Tendulkar, struggled in New Zealand, and the best the batsman could conjure was a fifty in the first game. Torrid form continue to haunt Tendulkar in the home series as well (a best of 55). However, in 2009, the batsman had a reasonable outing, scoring 160 in Hamilton, 64 in Napier and 62 in Wellington. Tendulkar's final two Test series were pretty low-profile with one fifty in eight innings.
3 Virender Sehwag (12 Tests, 812 runs, 100s: 2, 50s: 3)
Virender Sehwag's first Test series against New Zealand in 2002 was a woeful affair, as he combined for 40 runs from four innings. Almost 10 months later, Sehwag struck his maiden ton against the Kiwis and helped India to a win in Mohali. In 2009, Sehwag did not score even a single half-century (his best was 48 in Wellington) but India took the series 1-0. Sehwag saved his best for the next year amassing 398 runs in the three-match series in 2010 with scores of 173*, 96, 54* and 74. However, the India opener could not repeat the same heroics two years later with scores of 47, 43 and 38 in two Tests.
4 VVS Laxman (Tests, 10, Runs 812, 100s: 2, Fifties: 6)
VVS Laxman bagged a pair in his first Test against New Zealand in Wellington, but redeemed himself with a fine run in the home series in 2003. Laxman racked up two half-centuries and a hundred in the two-Test series and carried his sublime form against New Zealand during the tour of 2009. In the second Test at Napier, Laxman scored an unbeaten 124 and 76 in a drawn game, following it with another half-century in the next game. Laxman continued to pile runs in the next series, with scores of 40, 91 and 74 as India took the series 1-0. Laxman was part of the India's squad for the 2012 series, but the batsman announced his retirement barely days before its start.
5 Mohammad Azharuddin (Tests: 12, Runs: 796, 100s: 2, 50s: 3)
Mohammad Azharuddin's first Test series against New Zealand was a mixed bag, managing 153 runs from three Tests in 1988. Two years later, Azharuddin played a magnificent innings of 192, still considered one of India's best individual Test innings played overseas. The 1995/96 series was a forgettable affair as Azharuddin scored just 122 runs from three Tests, before manto get some retribution two years later with an unbeaten 103.