Cricket: Indians defend intimidation tactics against Black Caps

By Andrew Alderson in Kolkata

New Zealand were beaten by more than just cricketing skill in their 178-run second test defeat to India, but the factors at play will be difficult to address before the final match starts at Indore on Saturday.

In summary, the new world No.1s use the absence of the Decision Review System to their advantage. They accept that not using the technology delivers a swings-and-roundabouts effect with umpire error, so instead focus on gaining a competitive advantage in areas they can control. They are masters at generating crowd support, orchestrate Oscar-winning appeals, and captain Virat Kohli's theatrical umpire liaisons are rife. Each factor is driven by fear of the public consequences if a country with a population of 1.25 billion people loses.

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Yes, India need technical nous to sustain an unbeaten run of 12 tests, but using those peripheral tactics makes them more formidable.

New Zealand, despite suffering their fifth defeat in eight tests this year, are unlikely to employ any of those methods, nor do them better than the hosts. The lack of crowd support is a truism but it's hard to see them engaging in histrionic appeals, or Kane Williamson haggling with officials like he's at a bazaar.

Stand-in captain Ross Taylor acknowledged his team's prime difficulty was trying to maintain their batting techniques and concentration in sapping humidity. He paid tribute to man-of-the-match Wriddhiman Saha as the point of difference after he came out to make half centuries in both innings when the game was in balance.

Kohli regularly gestured for the crowd to up their vocal support but Taylor downplayed their impact in creating pressure for the batsmen.

"Obviously it adds to the atmosphere of the ground but people are making noise all the time when you play ODIs and T20s. It was a cauldron out there regardless, like when there were three or four people around the bat.

Kohli said the move was an unashamed effort to bolster his side's chances.

"I think it makes a massive difference. It creates an energy. We experience that when we go to Australia, England or South Africa. If they get a couple of wickets the crowd gets behind them loudly. As a batsman you understand that it creates pressure and you feel nervous.

"I just try to think as a batsman... walking in, the ball is reverse swinging and the crowd's going mad behind a bowler who is warm and willing to take a wicket.

"The crowd loves it and you engage them for the betterment of the team. A bowler who is tired, like [Mohammed] Shami, would have bowled three overs but he fed off the energy and he bowled 12 more balls and got another wicket."

The energy also translated to the appealing.

"Any time you come over here you know you are going to get out-appealed on the little inside edges or bat-pads," Taylor quipped. "B-J [Watling] has tried his best [to match the opposition] but maybe a bit too much at times because he had to go off with cramp.

"I think this has been the best we've appealed, in my history anyway."

- NZ Herald

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