Kanpur Test – India Need Six Wickets on Day 5 to Make 500th Test Memorable

September 26 11:15 2016
indNew Delhi, Monday, September 26 – India sent New Zealand on the back foot on Day four of the 1st Test match series in Kanpur after declaring the innings at 377 runs as soon as Ravindra Jadeja completed his second Test fifty and showed his delightedness in his own style.
India’s Playing XI consisted of Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, the wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, while Shikhar Dhawan, Amit Mishra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were in extras.
On the other hand, the New Zealand squad comprised Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Mark Craig, BJ Watling, Ross Taylor, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner. The players in extra were Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry and Henry Nicholls. Day four completely belonged to Indian cricket team as the visitors struggled for the wickets. Here is to remind that India were all out at a score of 318 while electing to bat first post winning the toss despite starting on a good note. Kiwis also had a wonderful and strong start as well.
Guptill’s dismissal at 21 runs gave India a breakthrough. Latham and Williamsom scored 58 runs and 75 runs, respectively. Latham’s dismissal by Ashwin on one fine delivery changed the game for the entire team when they were playing at 159 runs. At 160 runs, Ross Taylor lost his wicket, adding to the joy of Kohli’s men. New Zealand skipper Williamson had to go back when Kiwis scored 170 runs. Losing three wickets in speed certainly brought them under pressure.
The series of falling wickets did not stop given the fact that Ronchi, Santner, Craig, Ish Sodhi, Boult and Watling  lost their wickets at 38 runs, 32 runs 2 runs, 0, 0 and 21 runs, respectively. Wagner was not out at a zero. At a time when many predicted that Kiwis will be able to get past the total set by India in their first innings and take desired lead, the home side upset the visiting squad by restricting them at a score of 262. Five-wicket haul of Jadeja did the magic for the Indian side. Ashwin earned four wickets, contributing as much as possible from his end to keep India on the front foot. Yadav got one wicket.
India did well during their second innings too. The young man Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay almost gave Indian fans see a similar show as that of the India’s first innings. Kiwis were not able feel any ease in dismissing them as the openers made the ball to cross the fences for more than a few times. The Mangalore born opening batsman scored of 38 runs facing 50 deliveries with a strike rate of 76.00. His knock consisted of eight 4s, making Kiwis do some running on the ground often. Sodhi broke the partnership of 52 runs on the first ball of the 19th over.
Santner brought Vijay’s stint to an end when the opener was trying to finely play the ball. But he got his leg before wicket, taking away the chance from him to get a possible ton. He made the ball cross the boundary line for eight times. His innings consisted of a six as well that’s not usually seen by him, especially in the longest format. Murali Vijay’s brilliant 76 runs came at a time when the fear of losing wicket was there from the beginning provided the fact that Kiwis were trying their best to make Indian batting collapse.
Cheteshwar Pujara stood strong once again. Despite the fact that Indian skipper Virat Kohli was dismissed by Craig at a score of 18 (4 x 3), Pujara was unaffected and concentrated on his play. Ajinkya Rahane gave him good support. Pujara played a knock of 78 runs in 152 balls, with the help of 10 boundaries. Ish Sodhi bowled a delivery that sent the right-handed batsman back to the pavilion. Santner  got wicket of Rahane, who scored 40 runs in 81 balls, with the help of four 4s. Rohit Sharma was not out  at 68 runs that were attained post facing 93 deliveries, with the help of eight 4s. Ravindra Jadeja was unbeaten at 50 runs that came in 58 balls. Jadeja’s knock was studded with a couple of fours and three sixes.
The Nagpur boy Sharma and 27-year-old Jadeja played their knocks in a way that nullifies the expectation that Test cricket is about being slow. The two men did not let Kiwis build pressure anytime. With nine extras, India scored 377 runs for the loss of five wickets. With the lead of over 400, India wanted to be on a safe side, giving bowlers good amount of time and chance to put best foot forward as they came to bowl for a second time. India were eying wickets right from the beginning. A delivery by Shami was good enough to give Kiwis a clear indication about not giving them any room to feel comfort while chasing the target.
And soon they got success in their motto when Martin Guptill was lbw by Ashwin when looking forward to a chance to open his account. For another wicket, India did not have to wait much as Tom Latham was out in the same manner by Ashwin while playing at a score of 2.  The moment Kane Williamson – the New Zealand captain – was lbw, it was a happy moment for the entire team and Ashwin, who became the second fastest to earn 200 wickets. Kiwis came under the pump certainly post dismissal of Williamson, who was hoping to get more runs than what he earned on Sunday. His knock of 25 runs came in 59 deliveries, inclusive of three 4s.
Ross Taylor  was taken by surprise when Umesh Yadav made sure the ball is collected on time and hit the stumps to give India another wicket. Taylor was a run out victim and had to go back to the dressing room post scoring 17 runs in 36 balls, with the help of two boundaries. Luke Ronchi – the Kiwi wicket-keeper – definitely batted in style early today, soon reaching to the mark of 80 runs off 120 deliveries including nine 4s and a six. Mitchell Santner gave him great support and hit the ball hard when possible. If truth be told then good work by this pair made New Zealand be impressive and let the opponents feel the heat.  But then bowling change did the trick and Jadeja broke the partnership that was turning dangerous for team India.
Kiwis now need to carry on displaying the kind of performance that is expected from them by their supporters if they do not want to let India start the Test series with a win. Santner and Watling are on the pitch batting at the scores of 42 and 18, respectively, after 65 overs. Timely struck boundaries gave Kiwis a chance to be in the game, which seemed getting inclined towards India on Sunday. Mitchell Santner found the gaps that gave his team some useful boundaries and attain runs in speed. Anything can happen in three sessions today; one is about to complete and two more yet to go. Weather is clear though a few drops of showers made the rain threat loom during the early hours of play today.
India yet need remaining five wickets and have enough time hosts to do the job. The powered by brisk half-century by Ronchi let Kiwis find some joy. The present pair on the crease and upcoming batsmen would wish to do better and not replicate their first innings show this time. Here is to mention that last four batsmen of the Kiwi’s side then scored only two runs. If another wicket is lost then only rain could come to their rescue. Ashwin has so far got three wickets and Jadeja got one. Shami, Yadav and Vijay also eye wicket. Kohli is up for experimenting with possible options. Rohit Sharma bowled an over previously and no surprises if he is employed this time to bowl a few today too. The stadium is although not completely crowded but still a lot of cricket fans have turned up on the working day to back the home side, which is playing 500th Test match and want to make it memorable by logging a win.