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No stroll at Eden Park

Drama in Auckland Test as India lose opening Test to NZ by 40 runs despite sizzling century by Dhawan

Auckland: Neil Wagner was the toast of New Zealand as they pulled off a dramatic 40-run win over India in the first Test at Eden Park yesterday. Wagner, New Zealand’s go-to man, twice turned the game with quick wickets to wrest control away from India.

Making it count: India’s Shikhar Dhawan drives his way to a memorable century against New Zealand at Auckland yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

On a riveting fourth day of the David and Goliath clash between the eighth-ranked New Zealand and second-ranked India, the outcome was settled in the final session when India lost their last five wickets for 96 runs.

India went into the session requiring 137 to reach their 407 target while New Zealand needed five wickets.

As the target narrowed and wickets fell, rival skippers Brendon McCullum and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were forced to rethink their strategies.

When the first over after tea saw the removal of Rohit Sharma for 19, India opted to go on all-out attack. Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja belted 54 in under seven overs before Trent Boult ended their slogfest.

Two balls after being lofted for six by Jadeja, Boult exacted revenge by tempting him into a similar stroke with Ish Sodhi placed at mid on for the catch. Jadeja departed having made 26 off 21 deliveries. Zaheer Khan joined Dhoni in a 25-run stand forcing McCullum to spell his senior bowler Tim Southee to bring back Wagner who instantly broke the partnership to reduce India to 349-8.

With Dhoni left to try to get his side home, Wagner struck again bowling the Indian captain for 39 leaving Boult to end the innings when Ishant Sharma was caught behind for four.

The dismissal gave wicketkeeper BJ Watling his sixth catch of the innings.

Wagner ended the innings with four for 62 while Southee and Boult took three apiece. Earlier, in a day of see-sawing fortunes, India were cruising at lunch after resuming at 87-1. New Zealand regained control after lunch when Wagner produced his first magic spell, toiling with the old ball to remove Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli who had eased their way to 222. He had Kohli caught low down by wicketkeeper Watling for 67 before nicking Dhawan’s glove to remove the opener for 115.

It was the second Test century for the 28-year-old Dhawan, a late bloomer who was not required for Test duty until early last year.

Scorecard: Day 4

NZ (1st innings) 503
India (1st innings) 202
NZ (2nd innings) 105
India (2nd innings)
(overnight 87-1)
M Vijay c Watling b Southee 13
S Dhawan c Watling b
Wagner................................................ 115
C Pujara c Watling b Southee ..............................................................23
V Kohli c Watling b Wagner.....67
R Sharma c Watling b Southee ...............................................................19
A Rahane lbw b Boult................18
MS Dhoni b Wagner.....................39
R Jadeja c Sodhi b Boult........ .26
Zaheer c Taylor b Wagner ......17
I Sharma c Watling b Boult.... 4
Mohd Shami not out.....................0
Extras (b12, lb7, w2, nb4)....25
Total (all out, 96.3 overs)......366
Fall of wickets 1-36, 2-96, 3-222, 4-248, 5-268, 6-270, 7-324, 8-349, 9-362.
Bowling
Boult 23.3-2-86-3
Southee 23-4-81-3
Wagner 25-8-62-4
Anderson 7-1-22-0
Sodhi 15-2-78-0
Williamson 3-0-18-0
Result: New Zealand won
by 40 runs.
Man of the match: Brendon McCullum
Series scoreline: NZ lead 1-0.
Next Test: At Wellington on February 14.

Figure Trigger

100
The Auckland loss was India’s 100th while playing away from home. India became the fourth nation after England (164), West Indies (114) and Australia (107) to lose more than 100 Tests abroad.
3
Number of Man of the Match awards pocketed by Brendon McCullum. His award-winning performances: 143 v Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2004, 225 v India at Hyderabad in 2010 and now 224 v India at Auckland.
4
Number of Indian openers to score a century in the 4th innings of a Test with Dhawan becoming the latest player to do so. Sunil Gavaskar (4 tons), Mushtaq Ali and Wasim Jaffer (one ton each) are the others.

 

 

Umpire Davis deals Rahane a cruel blow in second dig

New Zealand were extremely lucky to get the wicket of India’s Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who was adjudged LBW to pacer Trent Boult by Australian umpire Steve Davis despite an inside edge. A New Zealand television commentator, after checking out Hot Spot, summed it up well: “Rahane would be disappointed, but Boult’s not.” But India have not agreed to using the Decision Review System (DRS). In his post-match interview with former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni referred to Rahane's dismissal as a "tough" one.

At the press conference later, he called it bad umpiring. Dhoni could also feel a bit blue over the umpires not deeming Neil Wagner’s delivery which bowled him for 39 a no-ball.

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