New Zealand vs India 1st Test Day 4: New Zealand’s pace attack make it 1-0

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

New Zealand celebrate their 40-run victory over India

New Zealand’s pace attack tore through India’s batting line-up while they were chasing 407 in the second innings to give the Black Caps an impressive 40-run victory on the fourth day of the first Test in Auckland.

Neil Wagner was the standout performer for New Zealand with four wickets, but he was well supported by Tim Southee and Trent Boult as they took three wickets apiece.

Starting out the day on 87/1, India’s batting duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara only added nine runs onto their 51-run partnership before Pujura was caught behind off the bowling of Southee for 23.

Dhawan and Virat Kohli made up for the early loss of Pujara with a 126-run partnership, during which Dhawan brought up his second Test century and Kohli his half-century, before Kohli was caught behind off the bowling of Wagner.

Kohli’s fantastic knock of 67 came off 102 balls and included 12 boundaries.

Dhawan ended up making 115 off 211 deliveries, which included 12 boundaries and a six, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Wagner.

Ajinkya Rahane only made 18 runs before he was given out lbw, despite getting an inside edge, off the bowling of Boult.

Rohit Sharma scored 19 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Southee.

Ravindra Jadeja and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stemmed the bleeding with a 54-run partnership before Jadeja was caught by Ish Sodhi at mid-on off the bowling of Boult for 26.

Zaheer Khan managed to make 17 runs before was caught by Ross Taylor at first slip off the bowling of Wagner.

Dhoni went on to make 39 before he was controversially bowled by Wagner.

The decision raised a few eyebrows as it seemed that Wagner had stepped over the crease, which should have been called a no-ball, but the third umpire did not see anything wrong and upheld the original decision.

India’s innings came to an end when Ishant Sharma was caught behind off the bowling of Boult for four runs.

Wagner was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with four wickets, while Boult and Southee chipped in with three wickets each.

Dhoni was extremely disappointed with his team’s performance, especially in the first innings, and said: “The bowlers bowled fantastically well to get us back. I don’t think we batted really well in the first innings. Second innings, quite a few of our batmen batted really well.

“One of the best that I have seen our bowlers bowl. Especially on a good wicket. They kept it tight, bowled wicket-taking deliveries at the same time. They need to continue doing that. When you go and [don’t] look at what you want to achieve at the end, you can slowly graduate into bigger goals. A few unlucky wickets. Ajinkya’s decision was a tough one at a very crucial time.”

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was ecstatic to have taken a 1-0 lead over India and was also named Man of the Match for  his double century in the first innings.

“Definitely nervous times,” he said. “That run chase. They put us under immense amount of pressure. Neil Wagner’s spell today epitomised everything that is going well with the side. A great Test to be part of. One that we will remember. We had to overcome tough periods when batting. Managed partnerships. Got a big score, above par.

“After not enforcing the follow-on, we didn’t play well, but their bowling was exceptional too. Would have loved to have a few more in the bank. One of those ones. Everyone has got their own opinion. You have to make that decision. You live and die by that decision. Thankfully we are living by it. You take all inputs from the bowlers, and then make the decision. At 220 for 3 it wasn’t looking that great, but we showed enough fight.

“Neil is brilliant. He never wants an opportunity to pass him by. His role is to bowl a lot of overs, and hostile overs, [which] gives Tim and Trent an opportunity to attack. He has thoroughly deserved his wickets. He has turned this game.

“One of my best innings in an NZ shirt. Delighted to make a significant contribution. A lot of credit must go to those who formed partnerships with me. A Test victory over this Indian team is no small achievement.”

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