first #INDvNZ Test : New Zealand Show Grit And Determination To Thwart India’s Bid For Victory

Picture : Twitter / BCCI

New Zealand’s Indian born cricketers Ajaz Patel and Rachin Ravindra showed remarkable resilience under fading light on a deteriorating track to defy India’s spinners and earn New Zealand a thrilling draw in the first Test, at Green Park in Kanpur.

India failed to bowl out New Zealand on a deteriorating track on the fifth and final day of the first Test but skipper Ajinkya Rahane praised his players saying they tried their best and couldn’t have done ‘anything different’.

Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel (2 not out off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Rachin Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) played out 8.4 overs after the fall of ninth wicket to eke out a memorable draw for New Zealand in fading light at the Green Park stadium.

“It was a very good game of cricket, they played really well. We came back really well after the first session.

“We wanted to get that partnership going. We were looking to bowl 5-6 overs in the end, but we needed that partnership to carry on. I don’t think we could have done anything different,” said Rahane at the post-match presentation.

The Indian spinners, led by Ravindra Jadeja, put up one of their most persevering performances in recent times but Mumbai-born Patel (2 off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) consumed 8.4 overs after the fall of the ninth wicket to keep New Zealand on even keel in the two-match series.

A lot of credit should also go to night-watchman Will Somerville (36 off 110 balls), who batted through the entire fifth morning to raise hopes of an improbable draw.

A match lasting five days on an Indian spin-friendly track impressed newly-appointed national head coach Rahul Dravid, who announced Rs 35,000 as a token of appreciation for the ground staff.

“We were bowling in good areas, we knew we had time but light was always going to come into play in the last session. It happened every day of the match,” senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said after the exhausting day.

A victory target of 284 was always out of the question but the gutsy New Zealanders did not lose any wicket in the first session of the last morning before the Indian spinners, who had saved their best for last, finally showed their skills but couldn’t end on a winning note.

The result at Green Park is the first time that New Zealand has gone 10 Test matches undefeated (eight wins, two draws) with the current streak starting against India at the start of 2020.

The last half an hour was a thriller, with umpires Nitin Menon and Virender Sharma checking light and Ravindra appreciating Patel for every copybook forward defensive stroke.

Ashwin (30-12-35-3), Jadeja (28-10-40-4) and Axar Patel (21-12-23-1) had to really push hard but it once again showed that Indian spinners might not be completely effective on tracks that don’t start cracking from at the least second day.

Night-watchman William Somerville defied India’s bowling attack with some gutsy batting alongside senior opener Tom Latham as New Zealand took the honours in the first session on Day 5, reaching 79 for 1 in chase of 284 at lunch.

A minimum of 60 overs remain in the next two sessions in which India need to get nine wickets and New Zealand 205 runs.

Somerville, unbeaten on 36 off 109 balls at the break, Latham, batting on 35 off 96 balls, added 76 runs for the unbroken second-wicket stand as the track hardly offered any significant help to the Indian spinners, save one delivery from Ravindra Jadeja (6-0-11-0).

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