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An anatomy of New Zealand's 3-0 test series loss

Tom Latham departs in the third test defeat to India. Photo / AP
Tom Latham departs in the third test defeat to India. Photo / AP

Andrew Alderson's first XI of pivotal moments in the Black Caps' 3-0 series loss to India.


1. The prize for a prescient opening summation to a tour goes to Ross Taylor...

"Things can happen quickly here," Taylor said before the Kanpur test.

"You can be 100-1 and soon be 120-5. You can't underestimate the heat, the conditions, the spicy food and the turning tracks. Each of those factors can make subcontinental tours tough for New Zealanders."


1st test

2. Off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed Kane Williamson for 75 on the second day in Kanpur. He pitched a fraction short, encouraging the New Zealand captain to shape for a square cut. The ball gripped, cramping the No.3, and creating an 'open sesame' between bat and pad.

The Williamson exit highlighted why New Zealand needed a significant first-innings lead as insurance against batting last.

They never got one across the series.

3. A collapse of nine wickets for 103 runs, including a torrent of 5-7 halted New Zealand's the first innings at 262, curtailed their prospects.

To compound the disappointment, India gave the impression of batting on a different wicket in their second innings. They posted a carefree 159 for one to lead by 215 at stumps on the third day. That position became unbeatable as puffs of dust began detonating around the popping creases.

It was an indictment on the visitors' three-spinner attack that part-timer Martin Guptill marked out his run-up in the 28th over.

2nd test

4. Williamson's omission due to a viral illness overshadowed the start in Kolkata. His condition was described as "fever-stricken" and he was rushed into quarantine.

Taylor returned to captain the side which, despite the unfortunate circumstances, marked an extraordinary turnaround from the scenes of December 2012 when he was ousted from the job.

Williamson cut a gaunt figure in the team hotel post-test after losing seven kilograms, but at least offered a wan smile as he prepared to literally "get back on the bike" at a gym session.

5. Cricket's annals will show a mundane scorecard after the opening day. India reached 239 for seven at stumps. Oh yeah, so-so.

The reality is the Black Caps delivered a performance of considerable commitment and discipline in conditions best described as Attrition Central. It was arguably their best day of the series.

With temperatures in the low 30s and humidity threatening 80 per cent the atmosphere was cloying. The visitors' faith in their fitness and nutrition needed to be resolute as the Indian 12th man, Sapping Heat, made a cameo in the middle session.

6. India cannoned through New Zealand's resistance after tea on the fourth day to post a 178-run victory.

The win gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and took them to No.1 in the world rankings.

After a sleepy start, the ground felt like The Colosseum by stumps as Indian captain Virat Kohli began raising his arms to the Kolkata faithful, beckoning their support.

They responded as the stands bloomed with punters in the afternoon haze. The reaction worked like osmosis on the hosts. That will prove a powerful tactic for him in years to come.

7. It wouldn't be an authentic Indian tour without backstage drama.

A breathless report emerged in a national tabloid that the tour had been cancelled the morning after the Kolkata test.

Alas, the claims about frozen BCCI bank accounts - meaning nothing could be paid for - were somewhat exaggerated.

The Supreme Court had only asked for two specific payments from the board to its state associations to be restricted.

3rd test

8. The match plot took a predictable direction as Kohli won his seventh consecutive toss at home with the fabled 'commemorative coin' and (drumroll) decided to bat.

It at least provided some welcome levity at stumps when Jimmy Neesham was asked about the feat.

"It makes it easier turning up at the ground knowing you'll be bowling," Neesham quipped.

9. Tom Latham used reactions to make Mr Miyagi proud as he snaffled the catch of Murali Vijay at short leg on the opening day.

His venus flytrap hands closed around the ball after it bobbled up his right arm. It was just reward for hours spent taking myriad catches in such fashion each practice.

Needless to say, the Black Caps' jubilation was short-lived.

10. Virat Kohli (211) and Ajinkya Rahane (188) composed an Indian record fourth-wicket partnership of 365; the cornerstone in the hosts 557-5 declaration.

There were a handful of wishful appeals during their tenure but nothing went to hand in a masterclass of risk calculation as they each made highest test scores.

A fire engine could have roared into the attack from the Colonel C.K Nayudu Pavilion end and it would have struggled to douse the blaze of runs.

11. Batting contagion struck New Zealand's middle order in the middle session on the third day.

They lost four wickets for 14 runs in the space of 32 balls, ending any hope of gaining first innings parity.

Williamson, Taylor, Guptill and Luke Ronchi fell to the handiwork of Ashwin, who finished with six wickets for 81 from 27.2 overs.

Guptill's exit was freakish as he loomed into form. He was backing up as Ronchi launched a straight drive. Ashwin's fingertip touched the ball before it crashed into the stumps with Guptill's bat raised.

Incredibly, Jeetan Patel suffered the same fate when a caught-and-bowled straight drive from Matt Henry also slipped through Ashwin's hands into the stumps.

The bowling footmarks - and illegal pitch scratchings which saw Ravindra Jadeja fined - were the perfect accomplices to Ashwin's appetite for destruction in the second innings as he took seven for 59.

Indian fieldsmen crowded the bat like frenzied fishermen on a wharf as New Zealand's school of batsmen took the bait.

Ashwin's match figures were 13-140 and, significantly, he dismissed Williamson four times from four innings in the series.

New Zealand's woes against subcontinental spin were again exposed as India rolled to a 321-run win.

- NZ Herald

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