Rediff.com  » Cricket » Report Card: How India's players fared in New Zealand

Report Card: How India's players fared in New Zealand

By HARISH KOTIAN
March 03, 2020 10:48 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Harish Kotian draws up the report card for the New Zealand Test series.

 

World No 1 India was outplayed by New Zealand in the Test series, beaten inside three days in the Tests in Wellington and Christchurch.

India travelled to New Zealand on the back of five successive series wins, but once again were undone in conditions away from home.

The batsmen flopped big time, and the famed pace attack struggled to make an impact in helpful conditions.

New Zealand won the first Test in Wellington by 10 wickets in a little over three days, and the second by seven wickets even quicker.

Virat Kohli's poor run with the bat brought back memories of England 2014 while Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara also failed to live up to their billing.

A look at how the Indian players fared in New Zealand:

Virat Kohli (1/10)

Virat Kohli

Kohli endured his worst series with the bat, bringing back memories of England 2014.

New Zealand's seamers exploited his weakness against the moving delivery and India's captain suffered successive batting failures.

In the first Test, debutant Kyle Jamieson set him up nicely to get him caught behind after he played away from the body, sowing the seeds of doubt in his mind.

In the second, Kohli was twice beaten by full incoming deliveries, playing down the wrong line, and trapped leg before wicket both times.

Without runs from the skipper, the team struggled in both Tests, crossing 200 just once in four innings.

Kohli finished the series with 38 runs from four innings, tallying even less runs than Mohammed Shami.

 

Mayank Agarwal (4/10)

Agarwal battled it out on a tough pitch in the series opener after India were put in to bat.

In the first innings, when the conditions were loaded in favour of the bowlers, he played his part by keeping out 84 deliveries to score 34.

In the second innings, he was the lone bright spot for the team with another sensible innings of 58, but India were bowled out for a lowly 198.

In the second Test, he was beaten by Trent Boult's guile twice, the pacer getting him out leg before both times with the incoming delivery.

Agarwal was India's top run-getter in the series with 102, one of two batsmen to tally more than 100.

 

Prithvi Shaw (4/10)

Prithvi Shaw

Shaw was preferred ahead of Shubman Gill and showed he has a lot to learn when it comes to batting in bowler-friendly conditions like one encounters in New Zealand.

He seems to have a major problem in dealing with short deliveries. In two innings out of four, he was caught fending at short balls and all at sea against the bouncers.

He did show some encouraging signs when he batted positively to hit 54 from 64 balls in the first innings of the second Test, the knock helping him end the series with 98 runs, at an average of 24.50.

 

Cheteshwar Pujara (4/10)

The normally reliable Pujara batted watchfully in the first game, but managed just 11 in both innings.

In the second Test, he perished in strange circumstances. He tried to show intent after completing his fifty, but only ended up giving his wicket away with a rash shot.

He top-edged the pull shot against Kyle Jamieson in the first innings while in the second Boult bowled him through the gate with a beauty.

The India No 3 finished with just 100 runs in the series.

 

Ajinkya Rahane (4/10)

Ajinkya Rahane

Rahane, who has a better record away from home, struggled in New Zealand, tallying just 91 runs.

He scored a gritty 46 in the first innings in Wellington, but things went downhill from there for the vice-captain.

A nervy Rahane got out caught behind in successive innings, playing at deliveries away from his body.

In the second innings in Christchurch, he fell perfectly for the bouncer trap set up by New Zealand as he looked to counter-attack, but only ended up chopping the short ball from Neil Wagner back on to his stumps.

 

Hanuma Vihari (4/10)

After sitting out a couple of series at home, Vihari got a chance to bat at No 6 in the series with India playing an extra batsman.

He looked tentative with his footwork in the first Test and failed in both innings.

In the first innings of the second Test, he hit a solid 55, which included 10 fours, before throwing it away with a reckless shot just before tea. He shuffled across and tried to pull Wagner's short ball but got an edge and was caught behind.

Vihari should have carried on by cutting out the risks. Instead, his wicket proved to be the turning point as India lost six wickets for 48 runs from that point and were bowled out for 242.

In the second innings, he was caught down the leg side for another low score and ended the series with a tally of 86 runs.

 

Rishabh Pant (3/10)

Rishabh Pant

Pant was preferred ahead of Wriddhiman Saha because of his ability to contribute with the bat.

But he failed to make the opportunity count and mustered only 60 runs in the series.

In the first innings of the first Test, he was unlucky to be run out for seven and then perished in the second for 25 in his quest to score some quick runs with only the tail-enders at the other end.

Pant got two reprieves in one over in the first innings in Christchurch, but scored just 12 and suffered another failure in the second.

 

Jasprit Bumrah (3/10)

Jasprit Bumrah

While New Zealand's bowlers made hay, the Indian seam bowlers struggled to make the same impact.

After going wicketless in the ODI series, Bumrah made a lacklustre start to the Tests, bagging just one wicket in the first match.

He made a comeback in the next, picking up three wickets in the first innings in Christchurch, but was unable to stop the New Zealand lower order from adding 82 runs for the last three wickets and deny India a sizeable lead.

Bumrah gave glimpses of returning to his best form as he picked up two wickets in the second innings, but New Zealand were hardly troubled in their low run chase of 132.

He was India's highest wicket-taker in the series with six wickets at an average of 31.

 

Mohammed Shami (3/10)

Shami also failed to deliver in seamer-friendly conditions in both games.

He struggled for consistency in the first match when he took 1/91 in 23 overs.

He did well to bounce back with 4/81 in the first innings of the second Test in perhaps the only session that went India's way in the entire series.

Shami bagged five wickets in the series at an average of 36.

 

Ishant Sharma (5/10)

Ishant Sharma

Ishant justified his hasty inclusion into the team immediately after recovering from injury, despite not playing any domestic games to prove his fitness.

He kept India in the contest as he took 5/68 in the first Test, but his efforts went in vain courtesy the poor showing of the batsmen in both innings.

His comeback was cut short by another ankle injury which ruled him out of the second Test.

 

Ravindra Jadeja (3/10)

Jadeja got the nod ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin for the second Test as India wanted to strengthen their lower order.

He made an important contribution with the ball, taking 2/22 and showed his utility in the field with a couple of stunning catches.

He was left stranded on 16 in the second innings when he threatened to score some vital runs as last man Bumrah was run out.

 

Ravichandran Ashwin (3/10)

Ashwin must consider himself unlucky to be axed for the second Test.

In seamer-friendly conditions, Ashwin stood out with figures of 3/99 from 29 overs in the first Test, including the wickets of Kyle Jamieson and Colin de Grandhomme at crucial stages.

The team management perhaps went by Ashwin's failures with the bat in both innings.

 

Umesh Yadav (3/10)

One of the best bowlers in India when it comes to getting the ball to swing, he failed to make the most of seamer-friendly conditions in Christchurch.

He struggled to find his rhythm and got just one wicket each in both innings.

Photographs: Getty Images

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT