A perfect start to the home season for India. Virat Kohli and his team could not have asked for more from the first Test against New Zealand. And these are scenes that will be replayed in the remaining 12 Tests. A dominating performance by India, especially by spinners, helped them beat Black Caps by 197 runs. While Kohli can draw a lot of positives from it, there are areas in which India can improve massively.
The Indian top order laid a good platform for the middle and lower order batsmen to score runs on a crumbling Green Park pitch but the performances by the middle and lower order batsmen was not convincing. Rohit Sharma threw away his wicket in the first innings, Ajinkya Rahane was undone by two good deliveries while the tail needs to contribute more. Another major worry is about Kohli’s batting.
The Indian captain scored a total of 27 runs in the Test match but it was his application and the manner in which he got out which should be the cause of worry. In both innings, Kohli was undone by balls which did more – a bouncer from Neil Wagner that cramped him for room and a ripper from Mark Craig that turned and bounced more than Kohli expected. In the hindsight he could have left both of these or played a different shot but he didn’t and lost his wicket. But the real problem lies with the shots he played. He tried to pull the ball which was not there to be pulled. Against Craig, he tried sweeping the ball, which was rising after pitching in foot marks and was way outside off stump. Kohli managed to top edge it.
India, however, have been great in the spin department. Though the pacers did get only three wickets in two innings, they bowled tight line and length to build pressure on New Zealand.
It is a long season and if India can put up consistent performances like this, then it will be difficult for the visiting teams to win Tests here. But again, it is a long session.