Report Card: India’s Tour Of New Zealand

Result: NZ win the test series 1-0 after unlikely draw in Wellington.

A lot of records were broken in this test series. Unfortunately for India, most of the numbers were against them once again. This isn’t the first time a batsman has owned a hapless Indian bowling attacks; the team has been boosting batting careers for decades now. Tragically for Dhoni and his men, just when things seemed to look up for his bowling attack after bowling NZ out for 100 and 200 in two innings over two tests (and McCullum for 1 and 9), it was back to square zero all over again.

India have now gone 14 tests abroad without a win (10 losses and 4 draws), since that infamous Dominica Test. Captain Dhoni, with his defensive tactics and passive leadership, must be in deep introspection. His ‘learning process’ seems to be going on forever.

 

Brendon McCullum has now scored all 3 of his test double centuries against India. He is only the 6th man ever to score over 500 runs (535) in a 2-match series (2 of the 4 scores were under 10!). He is the only NZ test triple centurion, beating Martin Crowe’s 299 in the process. He broke the record for the longest ever test innings by a New Zealand batsman. He led his team to their first series win over India in 11 years. His run tally was more than double that of the second highest scorer of the series- Dhawan at 215.
The records go on and on…

Shikhar Dhawan (7/10)
Dhawan started the series with a duck, in danger of losing his place after the series. He hit back with a 4th innings century, followed by an attacking 80 in the first innings at Wellington. He proved he had another gear, and that he could bat in whites abroad after a torrid tour of SA.

Murali Vijay (2/10)
Once again, one of the openers failed on the overseas tour. Vijay scored lesser runs than Zaheer over the 4 innings (48 runs), and failed to get going. This leaves a huge question mark over his ability to bat under pressure- something that Gambhir could relish over the next few months.

Cheteshwar Pujara (3/10)
A rarest of rare series failure for India’s best test batsman. Pujara managed just 60 runs in 4 innings, despite showing impressive defensive technique once again. He failed to convert, and was fortunately rescued by a good middle order.

Virat Kohli (6/10)
Another overseas tour, another century in another country. Kohli proved his batting test credentials again with a 50 and a century (saving the Wellington test with an aggressive fourth innings 100). But he will forever remember his casual schoolboy technique while dropping McCullum’s catch when he was on 13. He went on to score 288 more runs.

Rohit Sharma (5/10)
An average of 40 is a bit too flattering for a batsman that started the test series impressively, but once again tapered off when it mattered. He held firm at Wellington on the final day, but that didn’t make up for his twin failures preceding his effort. He will need to improve a whole lot if he is to keep his place ahead of Rahane in the lineup.

Ajinkya Rahane (7/10)
The only batsman that looked comfortable and at peace with the conditions, his debut test century was a masterclass in batting with the lower order once again. He looks to be the most improved of the younger lot, filling Laxman’s shoes sensibly.

MS Dhoni (4/10)
He failed to add to his tally of NO test centuries overseas since 2005. Once again, his captaincy became the talking point, with some incredibly stubborn field placements. To be fair, it wasn’t totally his fault- his fielders let him down, as did his bowlers- more than once. He must stop siding with them in post-match interviews, and be a little harder on the likes of Shami and Zaheer.

Ravindra Jadeja (4/10)
His devil may care ODI batting attitude can’t work, and he must respect the opposition and his own place in the side. He was included at the expense of the more experienced spinner Ashwin, and failed to make much of a contribution with the ball. Even his accuracy erred at Wellington, earning Dhoni’s fury from behind the stumps often.

Zaheer Khan (4.5/10)
The 35 year old bowled the MAXIMUM amount of overs over the two tests- can’t have been easy (107). His average of 42 though, did justice to his lack of pace and penetration. His 5 wicket haul in Wellington was in a lost cause, after the damage had been done.

Ishant Sharma (7/10)
Two six wicket hauls and the guy is still going to be criticized. Because he deserves it. You can’t possibly switch off after one innings in a test, and Ishant’s toothless second innings Wellington performance will be remembered more than his 6-51 in the first. He batted gamely though, and ended up as the highest wicket taker of an odd series.

 

 

Mohammed Shami (5/10)
10 wickets at 35 isn’t what you expect from your main wicket taking bowler. He possesses large amounts of skill and ability, but lacks the experience- often going for runs at bad moments. He still remains India’s most consistent quick bowler right now.

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