The first Test between India and New Zealand ended in a draw in Kanpur as the visitors braved a brilliant resilience by batting through the entire final day. Not many teams have achieved this feat in the past, hence what the Kane Williamson-led team did was truly commendable. Several experts have hailed their performance and the latest person to join the chorus is Wasim Jaffer, who lauded Tom Latham in particular.
Latham was the Black Caps’ best batter over five days. In the first innings, he stitched a brilliant 151-run stand with Will Young (89) en route to scoring 95. In the second innings, he first negotiated a tricky 20-minute period at the fag end of Day 4 before returning on the final morning to put up a stubborn 74-run partnership with nightwatchman William Somerville (36). Eventually, he scored a gritty 52 off 146 balls to keep his side afloat.
Former India opener Jaffer, when asked whether Latham “came out of syllabus” on an ESPNCricinfo show, quipped:
“Yes, absolutely. Even though he has performed well in the past in India but he denied India the victory by batting like this in both the innings on this on this pitch.”
Meanwhile, Jaffer also criticized stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s decision to not take the ball right away.
“Yes, I think so that he (Rahane) delayed in opting for the new ball. A hard ball on those kinds of pitches does a lot more than an 80-85 overs-old ball. So I was really surprised because it does zip through with the new ball and I was surprised that it wasn’t taken straightaway,” he told ESPNCricinfo.
India scored 345 in the first innings before bundling the Kiwis out on 296. They then declared the second innings at 234/7, setting NZ a target of 284. In the fourth innings, India could only restrict the side to 165/9.