A listless Indian cricket team slumped to its worst ODI series defeat in New Zealand, going down 0-4, after the Black Caps hammered them by 87 runs in the inconsequential fifth and final one-dayer.
Going into the match trailing 0-3 in the five-match series, the famed India batting came a cropper once again, bundled out for 216 in 49.4 overs by New Zealand, while chasing 304 at Westpac stadium.
Virat Kohli’s 82 was the only saving grace as the visitors failed to put up a fight against the New Zealand bowlers, led superbly by debutant Matt Henry (4/38).
Earlier, Ross Taylor slammed his second successive hundred to power the hosts to an imposing 303 for five.
Besides the tie in the third ODI in Auckland, India had suffered defeats in Napier and Hamilton (twice) and today’s defeat continued their disastrous overseas performance as they had lost the ODI series against South Africa before coming here.
India had lost 2-5 to New Zealand in a seven-match ODI series in 2002-03. The last time the Indians failed to win even a single match in New Zealand was in 1975-76 and 1980-81, losing 0-2 in both the two-match series.
Put into bat, Taylor (102) shared a 152-run partnership with Kane Williamson (88), who scored his fifth consecutive half-century, for the third wicket to rescue New Zealand from a precarious 41-2 at one stage.
Taylor’s 106-ball innings was studded with 10 hits to the fence and one six, while Williamson blasted eight fours and one six in his 91-ball innings here.
For India, Varun Aaron (2-60) was the most successful bowler, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-48) and Mohammed Shami (1-61) provided decent support. Virat Kohli took the only other wicket to fall, while the spinners, R Ashwin (0-37) and Ravindra Jadeja (0-54) went wicket-less.
Chasing 304 runs for their first win on the tour, the Men in Blue got off to a disastrously slow start as they needed six overs to get to a double-digit score, losing a wicket in the interim.
Rohit Sharma (4) was the first to go, giving slip-catching practice to Taylor in the 5th over bowled by Kyle Mills (2-35).
Shikhar Dhawan (9), coming back into the eleven after spending the last match on sidelines, also looked uncomfortable as Henry finally get rid off him, taking this first international wicket.
The young pacer wounded up the left-handed batsman in the 10th over of the innings, before inducing an edge which was safely pouched in the slips.
Four over later, with the score at 30/2, Ajinkya Rahane (2) missed a straight delivery from Henry, trying to play it off his legs and was out plumb LBW.
India were staring at another massive defeat even continued…