India vs New Zealand: 'world class' Indian bowlers learned the art of cleaning the tail
KOLKATA: The series of two tests just concluded between India and New Zealand is definitely a virat Kohli and children would like to forget like a bad dream. Not only did they lose both games, but they humbled themselves in all departments, revealing the cracks in their armor that, in the recent past, were hidden under the guise of success, mainly at home. And what it cost India the series was its inability to shave in both tests.
While India entered the test series knowing that playing in the New Zealand test conditions would be difficult. But one aspect that gave a lot of confidence was the bowling battery of India. In fact, India was lucky to get the services of Ishant Sharma before the first test. It's another story that had entered the game not 100 percent and ended up sitting in the second game. But what would have hurt India most was the failure against the wagged Kiwi tail.
While Shami and Bumrah played as champions on the second morning of the second Test, even they could not clear the tail and what could have been a healthy advantage of around 60-70 races, it ended up being a single-digit advantage and with it the Kiwis returned to the game and sealed it the third afternoon.
And this has been the problem of India for some time and was even more evident in New Zealand despite the fact that bowlers obtained useful conditions. Off-spinner R Ashwin , who did not play the second test, had said that New Zealand has some good players who can hit very well.
While there is some truth to that, the show below the average for India can be measured with numbers that show that, while Kiwi players took full advantage of the conditions and used their skill with good results, the Indians fell headlong.
The average of the eighth to tenth wicket associations in New Zealand stood at 34.16 with two stands of more than 50 in this series. In contrast, Indian tailenders achieved only 124 in four innings at an average of 10.33.
In the first entries of the first test, the enormously impressive Kyle Jamieson & Colin de Grandhomme added 71 runs for the eighth wicket & then the towering Jamieson & Trent Boult He shared 38 races for the last wicket to take the lead at 183. India lost the test by 10 wickets.
In the second Test, Jamieson & Neil Wagner shared a 51-run stand for the eighth wicket to keep the first-innings deficit to just seven runs, which in the end proved to be key as India lost by seven wickets. India had New Zealand on the mat in the first essay at 153/7, but from there on the tail wagged long & hit another 82 runs to walk right back into the game.
It was in the 2014-15 period in the successive series in England (average 42.92) & Australia (43.50) that India's bowlers had conceded a higher average to the opposition's last three wickets. Clearly, it is time the bowlers looked at the issue with utmost seriousness.