India bowlers guided the team to a convincing victory of New Zealand in the second Test match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Monday to hand India an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. New Zealand, chasing a target of 376 runs, were bowled out for 197 in their second innings that gave India a 178 run victory.
With this win, India are now the number one ranked team in Test cricket after dethroning Pakistan who were top of the ranking after drawing their Test series against England in August.
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Three Indian bowlers — Mohammed Shami, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja — took three wickets each while Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a wicket as well. Wriddhiman Saha was named the man-of-the-match for his two unbeaten half-centuries in at his home ground. After the win, India captain Virat Kohli said that it was a great moment and India will make it their objective to remain at top for a long period of time. The third and final Test of the series begins in Indore on October 8, Saturday.
Wriddhman Saha is the Man-of-the-Match in Kolkata Test for his two unbeaten fifties in the match
Murali Vijay is the only member in the current team who was also part of the team that first went top of the Test rankings in 2009
India have gone top of the Test ranking after winning this Test
Even if Pakistan whitewash West Indies 3-0 in their Test series in UAE, India will remain the top ranked team
INDIA WIN SECOND TEST BY 178 RUNS. THEY ARE NOW THE TOP RANKED TEAM IN TESTS
Trent Boult is caught by Murali Vijay and India win the Test. They take and unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match series
Second new ball take by India. Bhuvneshwar Kumar back into the attack as India need only one wicket for a win. Three overs remaining
Neil Wagner and Trent Boult is the last pair out for New Zealand and they will try to bat out the remaining five overs
WICKET! Matt Henry c Virat Kohli b Ravindra Jadeja. Excellent bowling from Jadeja. He pitches it full and invites Henry to drive. The uppish drive is straight to Kohli at short cover. new Zealand 9 down
DROPPED! Ajinkya Rahane for once has put it done. An easy catch on his eight side off Jadeja but he falls. Henry survives
11 overs remain in the day’s play. This could well be over today if light holds on. Spinners can do the trick. Bhuvneshwar and Shami also doing a great job
India are now two wickets away from a series win and also the top rank in Test cricket! They will overtake Pakistan as the top ranked team in Tests
BOWLED! Bhuvneshwar Kumar this time. He knocks over Jeetan Patel for a duck and India are marching towards a big win here. Two wickets needed now
BOWLED! Luke Ronchi b Jadeja 32. Jadeja bowls at an angle, Ronchi makes room to play it square through the leg side but the ball takes an inside edge and onto the stumps
Maiden over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and New Zealand are still in trouble. Batsmen are failing to connect bat to ball
Jadeja returns and almost takes a wicket. Two edges that fall safe and an bat pad. New Zealand 175/6
Mohammed Shami is in the middle of an exceptional spell with the old ball in Indian conditions. Moving it around and keeping the batsmen guessing. And he is doing it with pace
WICKET! BJ Watling b Mohammed Shami 1. A peach of a delivery from Shami to send Watling’s off-stump cartwheeling. Watling playing for the swing into him but it holds its line and hits top of off-stump. New Zealand six down
WICKET! Mitchell Santner lbw b Mohammed Shami. Shami coming round the wicket to the left-hander and bring it back into him a long way. Santner is in no position to stop that. Umpire raises the finger. New Zealand slump to 154/5
Ashwin and Shami bowling in tandem for India. Both making the talk. New Zealand are four down for 149 runs
WICKET! Tom Latham c Wriddhiman Saha b R Ashwin 74. Just like he did after Lunch, Ashwin strikes after Tea. Bowls it a but wide and Latham drives. It spins away from the left-hander and takes a thin edge. Saha takes the catch and New Zealand are four down
Tea on Day 4. New Zealand are going nicely and this match is getting tense after those three wickets. Sure the next session can well decide the outcome of the game. New Zealand 135/3 need another 241 runs
Ashwin making life difficult for the batsmen at the Eden Gardens but no success for India. New Zealand are 130/3 with Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi in the middle
Jadeja induces the edge off Luke Ronchi’s bat and it goes to Rahane in slips. He celebrates for a while but quickly signals it may have bounced. Third umpire rules not out as it bounced
Ross Taylor’s wicket was the 14th LBW wicket in this match! This is the highest number of wickets in this mode
WICKET! Roos Taylor lbw b R Ashwin 4. That is plumb. Ashwin with a regular delivery to which Taylor plays for the spin. It stayed low as well. New Zealand three down
All happening out there! Umpire warns Jadeja for running across the danger zone twice in two balls. Virat Kohli has a chat with the umpire after the over. Things heating up
CLOSE! Tom Latham survives a close LBW appeal. Jadeja over the wicket to the left-hander. It pitched in line hit Latham in line. Umpire says not out. Jadeja furious
WICKET! Henry Nichollas c Ajinkya Rahane b Ravindra Jadeja. Beautiful bowling from Jadeja as it holds its line and Nichollas, who was bending forward to defend and playing for spin, edges it. Rahane with a sharp catch at slips. New Zealand lose second wicket
FIFTY FOR TOM LATHAM! Great application from the left-hander as he gets to another half-century in the series. New Zealand slowly getting closer to the target
That is the end of the thirtieth over! New Zealand are 92/1 but the runs have dried down. India bowlers keeping it tight but wickets are more important here
Virat Kohli has brought back Mohammed Shami as India continue their search for the second wicket in the New Zealand chase. The visitors are 72/1 after 25 overs. Latham and Nichollas at the crease
20 overs of New Zealand done and they 62/1. Spin from one end while pace from the other as Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar bowling in tandem.
Virat Kohli asking the crowd to get behind the team
Henry Nichollas is the new man in. He joins Tom Latham in the middle. Ashwin turning it big and keep the odd one straight. He starts with a wicket-maiden
WICKET! Martin Guptill lbw b R Ashwin 24. Inevitable it was! A couple of shouts before fifth ball. Guptill puts his foot forward and keeps his bat behind pads. It pitches close to his leg and a puff of dust comes out. Impact on off-stump and it was turning. Would have hit leg-stump. New Zealand 55/1
Players are back on the field after Lunch. New Zealand are 55/0 and still need 321 runs to win the match. R Ashwin will begin the proceeding with the ball after Lunch
The Eden Gardens pitch is not assisting the bowlers as it did on the first three days of the Test match. The sun is beating down hard and conditions are terrific for batting
LUNCH ON DAY 4. A successful session for New Zealand as they reach 55 without any loss. Latham batting at 31 and Guptill on 21. They still need 321 runs to win this match
50 up for New Zealand without any loss of wicket in the 16th over. This the best opening wicket partnership in this Test. Lunch round the corner
New Zealand are 40/0 at the end of 12 overs. Latham and Guptill scoring at good rate. Spin into the attack from both ends from India
New Zealand have survived the first 10 overs without a wicket. A few close calls and a decision going their way. They still have to do a lot
Ashwin into the attack after eight overs of pace from India. New Zealand openers have denied them a wicket so far. Can Ashwin spin it now. We have 30 minutes before Lunch
CLOSE! GUPTILL SURVIVES AN LBW APPEAL! Mohammed Shami brings one back into the right hander and Guptill misses it completely. India fielders go up but umpire Rod Tucker thinks there was an inside edge.
Replays show daylight between bat and ball
New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill being very cautious. Leaving everything outside off-stump. Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are shaping the ball well but no success so far
Gautam Gambhir is fielding in place of Shikhar Dhawan. Precautionary from India as Dhawan was hit on the left thumb twice by Trent Boult balls while batting. He looked in pain in the second innings
New Zealand off to cautious start in the second innings chasing 376 runs. They are 7/0 after three overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami bowling for India. All seven runs conceded by Bhuvneshwar
New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill walk out to the middle. New Zealand have a big task to chase down 376 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will open the bowling for India
NEW ZEALAND NEED 376 RUNS TO WIN! It will be very difficult to chase this down in fourth innings and on this pitch. Wriddhiman Saha remains unbeaten on 58. Players will be back in 10 minutes
INDIA BOWLED OUT FOR 263! Mohammed Shami edges one from Trent Boult to the slips and it’s a very low catch but Tom Latham claims it. Umpires go to the third umpire. Very close to the ground but Latham’s fingers are underneath the ball and Shami is out
FIFTY! What a great home Test for Wriddhiman Saha! He has a fifty in each innings and lead India to a lead of over 370 runs. Two sweeps and two fours for Saha and he is up to 56 now
Neil Wagner now has 99 Test wickets in his 25th match. If he takes the last Indian wicket, he will be tied as the fastest New Zealand bowlers to take 100 Test wickets in 25 matches. Can you guess the fastest to reach the milestone for New Zealand?
WICKET! Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Henry Nichollas b Neil Wagner 23. Short ball from Wagner over the wicket and Bhuvneshwar offers it the bat but fails to dab it down. Goes in air to Nichollas and caught
250 up for India and the lead is now worth 362 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar batting on 22 and Wriddhiman Saha batting on 48*. Spin for New Zealand as Mitchell Santner continues
A couple of good shots from Wriddhiman Saha and we are off in Kolkata. He moves onto 47. India moving nicely today
BCCI President Anurag Thakur rings the bell today and that will mark the start of play on Day 4. New Zealand players making their way out to the filed. The Indian batsmen also walking out. We are all set
We are just 20 minutes away from start of play on fourth day of the Test match. Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the overnight batsmen for India and they will resume at a score of 227/8
If India win the match, they will take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Test series and will also be crowned the top ranked team in the ICC Test rankings
India lead by 339 runs in the second innings and still have two wickets in hand. New Zealand need to pick these wickets quickly and then the batsmen need to perform to make this a match
Day four of the second Test between India and New Zealand in Kolkata! We have a great match going and if New Zealand can come up with a top batting effort, we may see this going to the wire
Rohit finds his lost paradise at Eden
A hot and humid early October Sunday afternoon rolled on. The Eden Gardens crowd — nearly 25,000 — found their voice. Rohit Sharma was batting serenely, as serenely as he normally does at this venue. The fans began to serenade him with ‘Rohit, Rohit’ chants. The atmosphere, which was mostly subdued, apart from when Virat Kohli batted, suddenly found its verve. You’d expect Rohit to be the star attraction at some point, as this venue has been more or less his home away from home. A century on Test debut, the ODI world record 264 against Sri Lanka, a Ranji Trophy double hundred and two IPL titles for Mumbai Indians attest to Rohit’s affection for Eden. He extended it on Sunday with a superb 82 off 132 balls in the second innings, rescuing India from a lowly 43/4, in what is arguably his most important Test innings till date.
Even earlier in the series, there were signs that he was in good touch. He scored 68 not out in the second innings at Kanpur, though those runs had come in relatively easier circumstances and on a surface more benign. Here, his team was under pressure on an unpredictable pitch-best illustrated by Virat Kohli’s dismissal. More importantly, from the team’s perspective, Kohli’s unmitigated faith in Rohit’s abilities has been justified to a large extent. Despite criticisms from several quarters of the cricket fraternity, Kohli persisted with him, ostensibly because of his team-mate’s ability to change the course of the match in a single session. Such sessions, though, manifested sporadically. The 50 off 72 balls against Sri Lanka at the SSC last year was one such instance. India had slumped to 7/3 in their second innings. Rohit came and released the pressure with his fluent stroke-play. The belief rubbed on to the lower-order and the team eventually won the Test by 117 runs.
A treacherous surface
This was an even treacherous surface to bat, with variable bounce to negotiate. But Rohit showed he can adapt to the conditions, and he did so without any fuss. He applied his skill to the fullest and paced his innings beautifully. He was patient, but not restrained, in that he didn’t try to be outlandishly aggressive. A slog-sweep off Jeetan Patel for a six was his first attacking shot. But when an opportunity presented itself, he latched onto them. The best thing about his batting was perhaps the minor adjustment in his footwork, which was creditable for somebody who can be sluggish with his foot movement. Impeccable was his balance too.
He admitted as much in the press conference. “I think it’s a situation where you can’t go too forward nor sit back. The ball that Shikhar got hit, it pitched right in front and just kicked off from there. You have to make sure you are balanced and play as late as possible. It was something which I was looking to do. Even in the nets, I was trying to play as late as possible. Every batsman has certain plans. Some may not be comfortable playing on the front foot and some may not be comfortable playing on the back foot. It’s about getting adjusted to a particular condition,” Rohit said.
Like most stylists convey when they are in sync, he made batting look absurdly easy — as though he were playing on a different surface.
Rohit begged to differ: “The conditions were not easy. As a bowler if you put the ball in the right areas, you may see bounce and odd ball keeping low; like you saw what happened to Virat. You have to be at it all the time. At no point a batsman can relax and take it for granted. There’s something in the surface throughout the day, not just in the morning or the evening.” Even New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult couldn’t hide his admiration of Rohit. “He applied himself very well and made some good decisions. He was tested there throughout his whole innings. A lot of credit goes to him. On a wicket that is going up and down and (offering) a little bit of reverse swing, he batted very well.”
His 82 was priceless in the context of the game, but he would nonetheless rue squandering an opportunity to score a hundred. He was flawless until he tried to open the bat face to a Mitchell Santner delivery that spun away sharply. A more conventional method – trying to play it towards point – might have served him better, and maybe could have helped him end his century drought. Then that was typical Rohit, with that fatal tendency to become a little loose when he is in control of the proceedings.
Going gets tough, but India get going
Post lunch on Day Three, the Test match sprang to life. Not that the lead-up had been dull, but the spark was missing. By then, inconsistent bounce had become the norm on this Eden Gardens pitch and the New Zealand fast bowlers went full-tilt to put pressure back on the hosts.
The very second ball of India’s second innings rose awkwardly off a length and rammed into Shikhar Dhawan’s index finger. Then, another rising Trent Boult delivery hit his left thumb. Dhawan had been taking a battering and never looked assured.
But Murali Vijay was the first to go, taken at the second slip by Martin Guptill off a beautiful Matt Henry away-goer. The Kiwi fast bowler removed Cheteshwar Pujara in his fourth over, although the leg before decision looked a little doubtful. The softened up Dhawan had stuttered to 17, when Boult nipped one back into him and caught him plumb in front. Ajinkya Rahane was undone by the variable bounce as he tried to pull a shortish delivery from Henry and ended up playing under it. ‘Leg theory’ ensued.
Kohli had come into this innings with 94 runs in his previous six knocks – a mini slump by his very lofty standards. And he was yet to open his account when he took a grubber from Bolt in the pads in front of the middle stump. Umpire Rod Tucker ignored the Kiwi war dance and Ross Taylor swore under his breath. But Tucker was right. The ball had pitched outside the leg stump. Kohli responded with a couple of fours off Henry.
Taylor brought in Neil Wagner, set a leg-side trap with a forward short leg, a leg gully, a short backward square leg, a mid-wicket and two men behind square. Short ball into the body looked to be the clear ploy. The India skipper took the challenge, ensuring a fascinating period of play.
Wagner hurled his first ball at Kohli’s ribs; the batsman calmly played it down to leg gully. The seamer dragged his length even shorter, but Kohli shuffled across and pulled it to deep square for a couple. Another short ball followed, this time a little wide outside the off stump. Kohli slapped it past mid-on and ran three.