India Vs New Zealand, 3rd Test, Indore
India 557/5d & 216/3d
New Zealand 299 & 153/10
India won by 321 runs
The predictions have come true. India have won the test series against New Zealand 3-0 and in the process, have made sure they stick to the No. 1 rank for a long time to come. The home season is a long one for India and they are looking good.
Once again R. Ashwin proved to be the wrecker in chief against New Zealand with 13 wickets in the match. 7 wickets in the second innings was also his best performance so far. The performance in the final test was as perfect as it could ever be for India. Batsmen making runs, tons of them and bowlers doing what they did all series, making life miserable for Kiwi Batsmen.
This was a vintage Indian test match, right out of the script of 1990s and early 2000s, something that we all have grown up watching. It was exactly like the era of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and company. India batting first, scoring huge runs that included at least a couple of centuries and a declaration to sit back and witness the spinners dismantle the opposition twice. For quite some time now we have seen rank turners being prepared for all India matches where the ball grips from the very first session and even the Indian batsmen do not score as heavily as expected. The pitch in Indore was a classic one where it was a batsman’s paradise on first 3 days and then a spinners delight on the 4th and 5th day. In fact, not a single century was scored from both the teams in the first two matches but it changed and how. At the end of the match, we had 1 double century from Virat Kohli, his personal second and a record for an Indian Captain and 2 centuries; one each from Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara respectively to show for.
India yet again won the toss and elected to bat first. Gautam Gambhir made his comeback to the Indian team and started off aggressively. He was looking good just before he fell for 26 runs that included 2 consecutive sixes off Trent Boult. Vijay failed again while Pujara looked composed for his 41. Pujara was dismissed with the team total on 100 for 3. This was where the game took its direction as Virat and Rahane combined to shatter countless records for partnerships in test matches. Virat went on to score his 2nd double hundred (211) inside 4 months while Rahane narrowly missed on his first as scored a career best 188. Finally when Virat was dismissed, they had stitched together a gigantic partnership of a mammoth 365 runs. Rohit came in and scored an unbeaten brisk half century to help India declare at 557 for 5.
The pitch was a much better track for batters and the New Zealand opening pair batted with a lot of purpose. They made their first century opening partnership in the series and rarely looked in trouble. They were at 118 for no loss when Tom Latham got a leading edge off Ashwin to give him his first of six first innings wickets. Then started the customary New Zealand slide that we have gotten so used to in this series. The next three batsmen; Kane Richardson, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi scored 8,0,0 respectively. Martin Guptill played well for his 72 before being unfortunately run out. New Zealand team which was cantering at one stage with 118 for 0 was now at 148 for 5 and staring down the barrel. Some brave resistance by the Kiwi lower middle order, led by Jimmy Neesham (71) along with BJ Watling and Santner helped New Zealand reach 299 all out, handing a huge first innings lead of 258 runs to India.
The option of follow on was there but the Indian think tank did not use it and wanted to bat again. Gautam Gambhir, who had hurt his shoulder while fielding, came out to open and injured it again when he dived to complete a second run. He had to walk back to the dressing room and Pujara joined Vijay at the crease. India finished the 3rd day without any loss and it looked obvious that India would score some quick runs in the first and maybe the half of the second session on day 4 and give New Zealand a big target to chase with more than 4 sessions to go. Vijay failed again and Gambhir came out to bat again. Along with Pujara, Gautam showed some real intent to score an attacking 50 on his comeback. He scored 50 off just 56 balls. Kohli too could not score much as he got out looking for some quick runs but Cheteshwar Pujara kept going on and on to score his century in company of Ajinkya Rahane who made 23 not out off just 20 balls. India declared the innings just as Pujara completed his century with the score at 216 for 3 giving New Zealand a target of 475 runs. Pujara scored 101 not out.
Half of day 4 was gone and it looked as if the match would go some distance on day 5 but the New Zealand team had different plans. Umesh Yadav removed Tom Latham early as New Zealand went into tea with 1 wicket down for 38. The last session proved to be beyond imagination for both the teams as New Zealand lost the remaining 9 wickets in one session with no batsmen willing to stay on the crease for long. New Zealand folded for just 153 runs giving India a 321 run win and a comprehensive clean sweep.
R.Ashwin is breaking records in a hurry as he collected his 7th Man of the series awards from the 14th series that he has been a part of. He is making it a habit now. He was also adjudged the man of the match for his 13 wickets in the match.
If this series is an indication, this home season awaits a lot of joy for the Indian team and the fans. The margins of the victories show clear dominance and would instill a lot of confidence and belief in the team.