Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Ravindra leads New Zealand to famous draw in Kanpur's fading light. India couldn't pick the final New Zealand wicket in Kanpur
India couldn't pick the final New Zealand wicket in Kanpur
March 11, 2020 – The day Rachin Ravindra composed his maiden first-class hundred. Roughly more than a year later, the 22-year-old was in Test cricket's cauldron on his debut. A game, that had its fair share of ebbs and flows right from the start of Day 1, was into its final moments, with New Zealand's hopes of drawing the game hinging on the young Ravindra. The all-rounder showed the required temperament and technique to paddle through nervy moments and steer New Zealand to a famous draw in Kanpur. With about 10 minutes to go for stumps, the umpires deemed the light wasn't good enough to continue, which brought an end to what was an engrossing Test match.
Ravindra came out to bat at the fall of Kane Williamson's wicket in the final session. With just four wickets in the shed and more than 25 overs left for New Zealand to bat, the situation looked grim. The Indian spinners were also in their groove. But Ravindra seemed unfazed by the threat of the spin trio and men around the bat waiting for that edge with bated breath.
Occasionally, he was beaten and in the 73rd over it exploded off the surface. Ravindra, though, mostly took a good stride forward and offered his broad blade. Occasionally, he also camped back and stonewalled the spinners. The key to his batting was he judged the length well and played accordingly. At the other end, Tom Blundell offered resistance for a while.
However, against the run of play, the wicketkeeper-batter was out and it turned out to be a curious dismissal. Blundell once again tried to stonewall off the front foot, but eked out an edge off the inside half of the bat which went on to clip the top of leg-stump.
Kyle Jamieson then used his reach to good effect to frustrate the spinners. At that stage, Ajinkya Rahane took the second new ball with the hope of his spinners extracting a bit more bite off the deck. In the 85th over, Ashwin did just that but Pujara was late to react at leg-gully and the chance went begging.
Fortunately, in the very next over, Jadeja trapped the tall batter in front. The all-rounder also sent Tim Southee back to the hut via the same mode of dismissal. Ajaz Patel, the last man, then slowly made his way to the middle. There were a few close shaves at the fag end of the day's play, including an inside edge off Ravindra's bat that flew past the fielder at leg gully, but the famed Indian spinners couldn't find that one last breakthrough to seal the deal in fading light.
Tom Latham and William Somerville also deserve a fair share of the credit for helping the visitors to draw the game. The pair batted for more than 30 overs to frustrate the Indian spinners, also spurring on a wicketless morning session. In fact, the nightwatchman Somerville was judicious in his shot selection and showcased watertight defence, juxtaposed by a couple of shots behind square on the off-side off Umesh Yadav. On the other hand, Latham employed his tried and tested sweep to keep the scorecard moving. Even after Umesh removed Somerville with a fine short delivery in the afternoon, New Zealand's template seemed to be to play for a draw.
There were a couple of fleeting moments when it felt as if Williamson was looking to press the accelerator – once he played a loft off Axar Patel and also showed a touch of finesse by cracking a sumptuous cover drive against Ishant Sharma. Barring the fleeting moments of aggression, Williamson and Latham were intent on offering their broad blades to stonewall India. Eventually, after a long vigil at the crease, Latham chopped one onto the stumps and that was followed by Ross Tyalor being prised out LBW by Jadeja at the stroke of Tea.
Right after the break, things began to move quickly as New Zealand lost the key wickets of Nicholls and Williamson in quick succession. Just that there was a 22-year-old debutant waiting in the dressing room to show his talent and tenacity in the middle. The Test also saw another debutant who had a memorable game. India's Shreyas Iyer played with skill and grit to compile a hundred and fifty on debut and was rightly adjudged the man of the match.
The second and final Test will be played at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. It is a ground where New Zealand won their last Test in India in 1988-89, with Sir Richard Hadlee playing a pivotal role by taking a 10-fer for the match. 33 years later, New Zealand would hope for another inspiring performance to break their long drought in India. Meanwhile, India would welcome their skipper Virat Kohli back into the set-up.
Brief scores: India 345 (Shreyas Iyer 105, Shubman Gill 52, Ravindra Jadeja 50; Tim Southee 5-69) and 234/7 decl. (Shreyas Iyer 65 W Saha 61*; Kyle Jamieson 3-40, Tim Southee 3-75) drew with New Zealand 296 (Tom Latham 95, Will Young 89; Axar Patel 5-62) and 165/9 (Tom Latham 52; R Jadeja 4-40)