Past records suggest Dhoni & Co falling to New Zealand spinners in Nagpur wasn't surprising
Nagpur: Team India were again beaten in their own game after New Zealand spin trio of Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi left the star-studded Indian batting line-up distraught in the ICC World T20 opener on Tuesday.
New Zealand spinner Nathan McCullum (fourth from right) celebrates with teammates the wicket of India opener Shikhar Dhawan in Nagpur on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
This isn't the first time that the Indians were flummoxed by spin. It all started in the Test series against England at home in 2012-13 when Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann ran through the Indian side with 19 wickets in the second Test at Wankhede. Panesar finished with a five-wicket haul in the next encounter at Eden Gardens to seal a historic series for the visitors.
The Indians were once again at the receiving end, this time in England in 2014 where Moeen Ali finished with 19 wickets in the five-Test series. It happened again in Galle last August where Rangana Herath claimed 7-48 in the second innings to help Sri Lanka win the opening Test by 63 runs.
NZ's stunning show
No one would have given the relatively inexperienced NZ spin trio a chance to defend 126-7 against an in-form Indian batsmen on Tuesday. Aided by a turning Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium pitch, the Kiwis stunned the hosts by a 47-run victory.
The most worrying signs for India was the way its top-order caved in, especially against Santner (4-11) and Sodhi (3-18) who were playing their sixth T20 international on Tuesday.
That the Indian batsmen's vulnerability against spin of late was evident in their approach against the Black Caps. Opener Shikhar Dhawan tried an unnecessary sweep in the first over he faced. Rohit Sharma stepped out to Santner just after facing six sharp turning balls which often beat him.
Suresh Raina closed the face of the bat a bit too early off Santner. Yuvraj Singh chipped McCullum's yorker straight back to the bowler. Almost half of the Indian side was back in the hut with single digit score.
According the Dhoni, spinning tracks are more difficult to bat on. "I have always said that it's actually more difficult to score runs on a turning wicket than on a seaming track. You can commit an error and get out very soon on a turning wicket. You have to be able to adapt. I felt this day was more about adaptability than looking to hit big," Dhoni said.