India Triumph On Tense Fourth Day
India capitalised on the excellent start given to them by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir to chase down the 261 runs that they needed for victory in the second Test against New Zealand in Bangalore. Jeetan Patel kept the visitors in the hunt with three wickets, but India’s sixth-wicket pair of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli added an unbroken 94 to ease them home by five wickets.
A shocking umpiring decision from Ian Gould had ended the New Zealand second innings on 248 at the start of the day. Jeetan Patel had flung his bat merrily and progressed to 22 off 26 balls, but was given out caught behind of his 27th despite replays showing clear daylight between bat and ball.
This left India needing 261 to win and plenty of time in which to get them. The first 24 overs of their innings were a lesson in the scoring power of Virender Sehwag. Until he was dismissed for 38 at the end of the 12th over, India had scored 77 runs, as New Zealand’s bowlers offered too much width; whereas in the next 12 overs, just 17 runs were scored for the loss of Gautam Gambhir.
Jeetan Patel had accounted for Sehwag, who had danced past one and had his off-stump pegged back, while Trent Boult recovered from a poor start to produce a beauty which had Gambhir caught by Ross Taylor at slip. India reached lunch on 88 for two.
After the break, Sachin Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara overcame some early alarms to bat through a shortened afternoon session. Tendulkar survived a close lbw shout off Boult, while Pujara looked uncertain against the shorter ball on several occasions, including edging one past wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum, who was deputising for the injured Kruger van Wyk.
Following an early tea due to some light drizzle, Tendulkar and Pujara knew that they just had to continue batting and India would win. However, New Zealand’s first innings success story, Tim Southee, flattened the former’s middle-stump with a ball that shaped back in and Patel had Pujara caught by a diving Daniel Flynn at short-leg. When Patel induced the new batsman Suresh Raina to become the second Indian to dance past one and have his stumps rearranged, India were 166 for five and in danger of collapsing.
However, if India could pick two men for a crisis, on current form at least, it would have to be Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. The pair knocked off the remaining 93 runs with fluency to end on 51 and 48 not out respectively, and so end a thrilling Test match in the home side’s favour. The chase had not been altogether straightforward, but, at the end of the day, when the pressure was on, India had two cool heads, whereas New Zealand’s bowlers were, at times, just a little loose in their lines and lengths.
© Cricket World 2012
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