India wrap up series, regain world No 1 rank

 India vs New Zealand 2016 2nd Test Day 4 Report

Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane

Defeat NZ to go 2-0 up, unseat Pakistan as top Test side

Brief Scores: India 316 & 263 (Rohit Sharma 82, Wriddhiman Saha 58*; Trent Boult 3-38, Matt Henry 3-59) beat New Zealand 204 & 197 (Tom Latham 74, Luke Ronchi 32; Mohammed Shami 3-46, Ravindra Jadeja 3-41, R Ashwin 3-82) by 178 runs

KOLKATA: India regained their No.1 position in Tests with a 178-run victory against New Zealand on a tricky pitch that gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. A confident innings from Tom Latham saw New Zealand start strong, but without their skipper and best batsman, Kane Williamson, saving the Test was going to be tough.

India’s bowling craft was its best. As expected on a fourth day’s pitch at the Eden, spinners came into play but pacers played a vital part. Add tot hat Wridd him an Saha’s gritty unbeaten knocks before an outstanding stint with the gloves and India never looked in danger of losing their way despite the visitors being 104/1 at onetime. And then there was Vi rat Kohli’s instinct, which is slowly making him look like the captain India need to harness their talent.

This win has come off a combined effort, but for Saha it will be special. Two unbeaten fifties a this home ground have firmly established his credentials as a No.7 who can buttress the innings when needed. He is not the most graceful batsman, especially against pace rs who have often jarred his hands and other parts of his body. But S ah a has shown the courage to ride out the initial hostility and make his presence felt. And when he complements his batting with the kind of catching that got Latham out after a stubborn innings, India know they have the right person at the right position.

Only after the dismissal of Latham — in the first over after tea—did India look likely to repeat their Eden feat of 2001 where they got the last seven wickets in the final session on Day 5. Here, another gruelling day awaited New Zealand if they had got past the fourth. Still, they showed some fight with the bat in a series that hasn’t been dominated by batsmen. Neither team has scored 400. And it took four innings for a team to put up a 50-run opening partnership in this Test. It could have been broken earlier though. Mohammed Shami hit Martin Guptill plumb on his pad but his appeal was turned down. Next tim ehe appealed, against Mitchell Santner, there was no ambiguity.

Guptill, however, couldn’t cash in on his life. In the first over after lunch, he was done in by the dip of R Ashwin. Henry Nicholls stitched a 49-run partnership before edging Ravindra Jadeja to slip. By the time Ross Taylor fell to Ashwin, hopes of an early finish had brightened.

Despite producing one of the best innings of the series, Latham was bound to run out of patience once. Ashwin’s drift was an entrapment, inviting him to drive but spinning viciously to take a faint edge that Saha pouched superbly.

Shami too kept his end of the deal. With the pitch showing signs of slowingdown, Jadeja and Ashwin were primed for long spells. But Kohli hardly adheres to convention. He brought Shami from the clubhouse end for a six-over spell. Having already sent Santnerback, Shamibeat BJ Wat lin g’ s outer edge to shatter off-stump. Kohl it hen put Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in charge of the bowling. That too worked like a charm. The next two wickets took a while coming but with the right bowlers at their disposal, India were never short on patience.

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