The first Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur ended in a draw, but it witnessed a thrilling finish with the match shifting from one team to the other in the three sessions played on the final day.
The day started with the tourists dominating the proceedings in the opening session, making India hapless in search of a breakthrough. The second session began on a strong note for the hosts as Umesh Yadav got a wicket in the first delivery, setting the platform for Ajinkya Rahane and his boys to finally make some impact on the final day.
It was the final session that shifted the match completely into India’s favour as New Zealand kept losing wickets against the spinners, but some resilience by the final pair – debutant Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel – helped the visitors save the match.
However, former India legend Sunil Gavaskar was not pleased with New Zealand’s batting, calling it timid. He believed the visitors failed to capitalise on the start provided by Tom Latham and William Somerville and “were only keen on survival and not looking for a victory.” The opener along with the night watchman added 76 runs for the second wicket before Somerville was dismissed by Yadav.
Gavaskar made the remarks in his column on the Times of India and wrote: “New Zealand managed to hold on by the skin of their teeth at Kanpur. Their timid batting after a terrific first session on the final day brought India back into the game, and once they started to get wickets in the second session, they simply piled on more pressure as they realised that the visitors were only keen on survival and not looking for a victory.”
“At lunchtime, Rahane and Dravid would have been a touch worried, for Latham and Somerville had set up a perfect platform for the following batsmen to play their normal game and take New Zealand home. Then, inexplicably, the shutters were pulled down, and all that it did was allow Rahane to keep men in catching positions,” added Gavaskar.
Gavaskar understands that this draw will be significant in deciding the finalists of the World Test Championship.
“There is a place in the finals of the World Test Championships at stake for both these finalists, and so sharing the points will certainly make a difference as the series goes on,” concluded Gavaskar.