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IND v NZ, 1st Test Review: India clinches historic Test victory

India
India. (Photo Source: BCCI)

As India closed in on a win in their historic 500th Test, Luke Ronchi was the one element that stood between the Indians and their win. Day 4 of the Test match saw the Indians well on their way to victory with Ravi Ashwin blasting the New Zealand top-order back to the dressing room. However, Mitchell Santner and Luke Ronchi impressed with the bat as they kept the Indians at bay.

The day began with the Indians deploying their spin duo on both Mitchell Santner and Luke Ronchi. However, what they did not account for was the simple fact that Ronchi and Santner were not about to throw in the towel just yet. They took a strong stand against the Indian bowlers who seemed quite surprised and were well and truly taken aback.

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They began the session by smashing the ball to different parts, forcing the Indians to rethink their position on playing the two spin bowlers. This saw Virat Kohli bring back Umesh Yadav into the attack, yet another ploy that was to fail soon after. Ronchi, who was clearly New Zealand’s best batsman in the match thus far, was the first to help himself to a series of sixes.

Needless to say, Ronchi helped himself to a half-century, his second in the match. Moreover, he brought it up in somewhat of a grand fashion by smashing the ball through mid-wicket to the fence. Virat Kohli’s face was seemingly becoming all the more gloomy. The plans were not going to plan. However, he did persist with the spinners was soon to play off.

The first delivery after the drinks break saw the Indians claim their first wicket of the morning session. It was the massive wicket of the session which was inadvertently claimed by Ravindra Jadeja who claimed the wicket of Luke Ronchi. The latter, who had batted quite well for his 80 looked set to score a ton. However, it was not meant to be as a miscue as Ronchi made his way to the haven of the dressing room.

Also read – Mark Craig ruled out of the Indian tour with side strain

Mitchell Santner went on to claim a half-century as he smashed a massively important knock. However, New Zealand kept losing wickets at the other end as BJ Watling and Mark Crag lost their wickets. Ish Sodhi hung around for a while as he remained unbeaten until the lunch break. Mohammad Shami was the pick of the bowlers in the morning session with 2 wickets to his name in a short spell of bowling.

If the pre-lunch session was claimed by New Zealand, the post-lunch session saw the Indian spinners add parity to the Test-match with an impressive display.  The three wickets the Indians required fell like nine pins as they required just the 30-odd minutes to blast out the tail and eventually claim the win.

It began with Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner leading somewhat of a brief resistance as Santner continued his carnage after the lunch interval as well. However, with the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja probing in and around the lines of both the off and the leg stumps, it seemed clear that the New Zealand would not last very long.

The first to go was Mitchell Santner as he became one of the first players to play down the wrong line, plucking out Ajinkya Rahane at the slip cordon. While Trent Boult impressed with some solidity in defence, Ashwin was creating havoc for the bamboozled Ish Sodhi.

Sodhi’s brief yet solid resistance was put out when Ashwin cleaned him up around his legs. For his final act as well as his sixth wicket, Ashwin removed the unassuming Neil Wagner who simply could not pick up the leg-spinner from Ashwin.

The win sees the Indians claiming a win in their 300th, 400th, and 500th Test match. As for Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper may not have shined as much as he would have wanted with the bat. However, he has now equalled MS Dhoni’s record of going 11 Test matches unbeaten, something that has seen Kohli and his men claim wins over West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand.

Ravindra Jadeja was handed the man of the match award for his amazing performance with both bat and ball.

Brief Scores:

India, 1st innings: 318 all out

New Zealand, 1st innings: 262 all out

India, 2nd innings: 377/5 dec.

New Zealand, 2nd innings: 236 all out (L Ronchi 80; R Ashwin 6/132)

Man of the match: Ravindra Jadeja

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