The Indian cricket team suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of New Zealand within three days of their second Test match at Hagley Oval. The Kiwis defeated the Virat Kohli-led side by seven wickets in Wellington on Monday. A victory, however, had not looked this easy for New Zealand yesterday. At stumps on day 2, India was tottering at 90-6 with Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari at the crease. However, on day 3, the Kiwis led by Trent Boult and Tim Southee took only 47 minutes to scalp the remaining four wickets, before its openers, Tom Latham ((52 off 74 balls) and Tom Blundell (55 off 113 balls) struck well-crafted fiftes to clinch a 2-0 clean sweep against India.
ICC Test Championship points table
With a solid 120 points, New Zealand's tally on the ICC world test championship points table leaderboard has risen to 180, even as India stays on top with 360 points, courtesy its series wins against a weak West Indies cricket team, depleted South Africa cricket team and below-par Bangladesh cricket team.
The feel-good factor of a 5-0 T20 International series victory now seems like ancient history for India, for which a dream start to the New Zealand tour turned into a virtual nightmare for Virat Kohli's bunch, which has always taken immense pride in performing in overseas conditions.
However, a look at India's overseas performance indicates that whenever the ball has swung and seamed, India's reputation as a formidable batting unit has taken a heavy knowck. It happened in England in 2014 and 2018 and now New Zealand has exposed it one more time.
More than the margin, the manner of surrender will come back to haunt the current Indian team, which leaves this part of the world with a lot of unanswered questions.
In his 11 innings during India's tour of New Zealand, Virat Kohli's batting form went from bad to worse. He managed to score just 218 runs. His tally of 218 was the lowest on a tour where he had played all 3 formats of the sport.
In the crucial Test series that is part of the World Test Championship, Virat Kohli's form took a slide and he managed to score just 38 runs at an average of 9.50 in 4 innings.
Virat Kohli's worts Test series (minimum two matches)
|New Zealand||2019-20||New Zealand||2||4||38||19||9.5|
|West Indies||2011||West Indies||3||5||76||30||15.2|
|New Zealand||2020||New Zealand||9||11||218||51||19.81|
There was another lower-order collapse on Monday as the last four wickets went for just 34 runs. Lack of gumption from someone like Rishabh Pant, playing for his place in the side, was shocking.
It was the pair of Tim Southee (3/36 in 11 overs) and Trent Boult (4/28 in 14 overs) which once again tormented the Indian batsmen, who were all at sea against quality bowling on a slightly challenging track.
In the morning, Hanuma Vihari (9) was caught down the leg side off an innocuous Southee delivery.
On a track where it was next to impossible to defend, Pant was seen pushing and prodding defensively, something that's not his natural game. The result was a half-hearted poke at an away going delivery that safely landed in the wicketkeeper's gloves.
The much talked-about "intent" was completely missing in Pant's game and his approach defied logic. Especially after coach Ravi Shastri spoke about how his aggressive batting scored over Wriddhiman Saha, but questions will certainly be asked on if scores of 19, 25, 12 and 4 justify his inclusion over a more accomplished stumper.
"No excuses," said Indian captain Virat Kohli after yet another batting capitulation led to his team's 0-2 series defeat at the hands of New Zealand.
A forthright Kohli admitted that his batsmen let the team down after the bowlers brought them back into the game on the second day.
"We accept it upfront and if we have to win away from home, we have to do that. No excuses, just learning moving forward. In Tests, we weren't able to play the cricket we wanted to," Kohli said.
After making 242 in the first innings of the must-win second Test, India folded for 124 in their second essay, leaving the hosts with a victory target of 132 for a series sweep.
"The batsmen didn't do enough for the bowlers to try and attack. The bowling was good, I thought even in Wellington we bowled well. Sometimes if you bowl well and things don't happen, you have to take it in your stride," the skipper said.
At the presentation ceremony, Kohli said his team would have to "go back" to the drawing board.
"It was a matter of not having enough intent in the first game, and not closing out here. We didn't bowl in the right areas for long enough. They created a lot of pressure. It was a combination of us not executing well enough and New Zealand sticking to their plans.
"Disappointing, have to go back to the drawing board and correct things going forward."
Asked if the coin not landing in his favour had any impact, he said, "Toss, you could think about it being a factor, but we don't complain. It did give extra advantage to the bowlers in each Test but as an international side, you're expected to understand that."