India have gained unassailable lead of 2-0 in this test series, and has advantaged itself to numero uno of Test Cricket, dumping its arch-rival from the position. Assuming New Zealand won’t make much difference to disturb the numbers, India will be maintaining that position till next month when England will be touring India for another series containing tests and ODIs. India until now hasn’t received any serious threat in the game at the test level, with earlier both teams, mainly Windies succumbing to spin. New Zealand have struggled too against the spin, with cracks popping up during the third day. But once again, the never dying effect in form of pace has stood for India in the Second Test.
Eden Garden, usually believed to be batting paradise, witnessed slight pinch of grass growing in pitch. And with additional package of overcast conditions, India were rocked early in the first innings only to be saved by the ever dependable Pujara, getting into his groove and Rajasthan maestro Ajinkya Rahane. But what was interesting to see was the lower order standing up to the tired-out pace attack of New Zealand. Not only the second test, but first test too it was tail including Jadeja, Ashwin, Saha who bailed out India out of difficult situations.
As it turned out to be, Wriddhiman Saha has gone on to snatch away the Man of The Match award, though there were many note-worthy performances in form of first innings fifer from Bhuvi, rocking half century scores of 87 and 77 by Pujara and Rahane, when ball was swinging on whole new level. and battling 82 from Rohit Sharma sustaining the reverse swinging old ball by the New Zealand pacers. But in both the innings, it was Saha who had stood on the other side and continued after they departed. With traditional technique of consuming good balls and going after bad, Saha raked up consecutive half centuries and ended up standing till the last to remain not-out.
Highs for India in this series:-
1) Pujara finding form– Pujara had earned himself a tag of being backbone of Indian Test Cricket. In past too there have been many instances where Pujara consumed up the new ball which was swinging both ways, and then fall. But this time particularly the Second test, in the green pitch, he stood tall and carried India to a respectable total.
2) Wriddiman Saha– The homeboy of Eden Gardens, made spectators proud for keeping faith in him. Apart from batting, he also has kept well behind the wickets. He has been really expert in this tough situations with ball spinning square or bouncing high after hitting the rugged patches.
3) Bhuvaneshwar Kumar– Doing justice to his swinging ball both ways ability, it was Bhuvaneshwar who didn’t play the first test, to rock New Zealand top order to earn his fifer.
4) Shami– Considered best fast bowler of current Indian team, he returned back to test arena after 9 months, due to side-strain injury lived up to his reputation tore through lower order of New Zealand in a jiffy, came back to rock the middle order to finish up with 6 wickets in the second test.
1) Shikhar Dhawan:- Continuous string of low scores, not being able to provide resistance with top order, Dhawan looked really scratchy in his both the innings in the Second Test. He failed the trust of the captain and the coach, and must make way for Gautam Gambhir.
2) Vijay:- Vijay has stamped his name in the slot for opener has done well in series against Australia and Bangladesh, but since then has lost the plot against relatively weaker opposition in West Indies. But he is still a valuable player, much more than Shikar Dhawan and worthy partner to another sensation Rahul.
Rahane– He has been little out of discipline sometimes, but his innings so of 77 can be compensated with those low times.
Spin Duo- Ashwin-Jadeja:- They have been marvelous as ever, consistently playing with the opposition with their rugged pitch advantage. They were really impactful in the first test, but considering Eden Garden being prepared for bowlers, they couldn’t really replicate their performance, though still keeping tab on the scoring.
Kohli:- Kohli has always hogged the limelight during the tests, with his energy, enthusiasm, captaincy skills, antiques with the crowd to cheer Shami and Bhuvaneshwar; wasn’t really on top of his game got starts but threw them away.
Finally Rohit Sharma – Eden being his home ground to, it was time he shrugged off his tentative test career, which he did by pulling out India from position of 43-4 to 260+. The determination and concentration, patience which was lacking in him in previous occasions have suddenly appeared during the tough patch when the old ball was managing to in-swing.