Cricket: New Zealand drop series opener

By Kris Shannon

India's bowler Pragyan Ojha, centre, celebrates the dismissal of NZ's batsman Kane Williamson. Photo / AP
India's bowler Pragyan Ojha, centre, celebrates the dismissal of NZ's batsman Kane Williamson. Photo / AP

It hardly excuses their poor first innings - it may not have even changed the result - but New Zealand have every right to feel aggrieved with India's refusal to use the DRS.

Batting for their lives on the fourth day of the first test in Hyderabad today, and doing a rather admirable job of it, Brendon McCullum was on the end of a shocker from umpire Steve Davis, triggering another New Zealand collapse.

The tourists lost their last nine wickets for 64 runs to drop the test by an innings and 115 runs, falling into a 1-0 hole in the two-test series.

That India would emerge triumphant always appeared likely after the New Zealand bowlers ceded too many runs and the batsmen were skittled for 159 in the opening half of the match.

But, after resuming on 41-1 in their second turn, McCullum and Kane Williamson saw out the first session with few difficulties and were edging their side ever closer to forcing India to bat again. Then McCullum became the latest New Zealander to receive a rough ride from the umpires, being given out LBW despite a clear inside edge.

In any other part of the world, McCullum would have instantly challenged the call and the decision would have been reversed after one replay.

But in this part of the world, where the Board of Control for Cricket in India wield all of the power, that option was unavailable to him. The BCCI have always been opposed to the DRS and the International Cricket Council, supposedly the game's governing body, lack the temerity to upset India and make its use mandatory.

The wicket triggered a familiar flurry of dismissals, reducing what could have been an unlikely, battling draw into a heavy defeat.

The erroneous decision was one of a number to go against the tourists in the match but Ross Taylor, perhaps wary of making excuses considering his side were thoroughly outplayed, was at his diplomatic best.

"Different parts of the world, in different sports, have different rules," the captain said. "It's part and parcel of parcel of playing in this part of the world.

"With no DRS, the umpires are human and make mistakes."

This mistake was also a sad way for McCullum to go, given the fashion with which he responded to critics who - quite correctly - questioned the manner of his dismissal in the first innings.

After opening the batting on Friday like he was chasing 300 in a 50-over game, McCullum threw away his wicket with one rash shot too many. When India had 438 on the board, is was exactly what his team didn't need.

But McCullum replied in restrained style, creeping to 16 from 59 balls when rain ended play yesterday and picking up where he left off this morning. He had made his way to a well-compiled 42 from 130, sharing with Williamson in a 72-run stand for the second wicket, before he was sawn off.

From there, the same old New Zealand returned.

Taylor and Daniel Flynn were undone for the second time in the match by Ravichandran Ashwin, then Williamson, New Zealand's best player of spin, found himself bamboozled by the delivery of the match from Pragyan Ojha shortly after reaching his fifth test fifty.

Ashwin and Ojha combined to mop up the tail, with the former ending the match with 12 wickets, as New Zealand's struggles against spin continued.

- APNZ

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