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Monday, August 10, 2009

India’s Historic Test Match Win in New Zealand and Some Points

(This entry was originally published on Saturday, March 21st, 2009)

I think, you already know India defeated New Zealand in the Hamilton Test by 10 wickets in what ended their 33-year wait for a test match win on New Zealand soil. No doubt, it is a great achievement for Dhoni’s team and considering the thumping victory in four days, I think, Indian team deserves accolade and praise. India’s poor performances in previous New Zealand tours have made this victory even more glorified. You can also increase the glory of this victory by considering the fact that India had a batting line up, featuring Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag, when they last visited New Zealand in 2002-03 tour. Well, here I have some points regarding today’s emphatic victory in Hamilton:

New Zealand’s typical seaming condition and wicket had a great part to play for the home side during India’s previous few tours in New Zealand. If you look back to India’s last tour in the country in 2002-03, you can see that both the test matches were very low scoring with New Zealand’s 247 in the first innings of the first test being the highest total in the entire series. In fact, this was the only instance a team’s innings total crossed 200-run mark and India’s highest score in an innings was 161 in the two-match test series. I can still remember that Stephen Fleming, the then captain of New Zealand team, did not use any spinner in the entire test series, even though Daniel Vettori played in both the matches. Wickets of both tests offered lots of uneven bounce, swing and pace for the pacers on both sides. Moreover, New Zealand had a very good pace attack in the presence of Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey who were instrumental behind their excellent performance.

However, the condition seems to have been totally changed this time as the Hamilton wicket did barely offer anything for the bowlers, except the first session of the first day. Moreover, the strength of New Zealand’s pace attack in the absence of Bond and Tuffey has been depleted. I think, New Zealand’s lack of quality in its pace attack on a flat pitch played a big part behind India’s emphatic victory in the first. Well, do not blame me for overshadowing the excellent performance of Indian team. I just want to say that Dhoni’s team did not face as dangerous a pace attack and tough condition as Ganguly’s team had faced in their previous tour.

India’s batsmen dominated the New Zealand bowlers in a flat pitch of Hamilton, while Indian pacers and spinner Harbhajan Singh got on top of inexperienced New Zealand batting line up which lacks the quality batsmen like Craig McMillan, Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle. There is no doubt, New Zealand’s depleted strength and lack of a fierce condition and wicket helped India to clinch a historic victory against New Zealand in the first test.

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