Cricket: Black Caps' batsmen let the team down again

By David Leggat

New Zealand's sub-standard batting performances in India continued at the start of their five-game ODI series at Dharamsala tonight.

Having been sent in on one of cricket's most picturesque grounds, New Zealand's batsmen let the team down again, save opener Tom Latham, as they were dismissed for 190.

New Zealand, trying to save face after being well beaten 3-0 in their test series, were unable to cash in on a decent batting pitch and at 65 for seven were in a desperate situation, facing the embarrassment of being dismissed for double figures for what would have been the seventh occasion in ODIs.

However Latham, who finished unbeaten on 79 off 98 balls, found support from Tim Southee, who struck a breezy 55 off 45 balls in a 71-run stand off 58 balls.

The Canterbury lefthander went on to become the first New Zealander to carry his bat through a complete ODI innings.

It is also the ninth occasion the feat has been achieved.

The hope was that New Zealand, rated among the best ODI teams in the game, would discover their batting game with the change of format.

However there was plenty to worry the coaches in what they saw tonight.

Martin Guptill got three boundaries in the second over of the match from debutant Hardik Pandya - two of them fortuitous edges through slips - before being squared up and edging to second slip.

Captain Kane Williamson, beaten early by lively and impressive Umesh Yadav, then slashed hard and the ball flew flat and fast to third man.

Ross Taylor's miserable tour continued when he touched a fine Yadav delivery to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni, for his fourth duck in his last eight international innings.

Corey Anderson drove hard to deep mid off when Yadav took a splendid catch diving to his right; Luke Ronchi lamely chipped a catch to the same fielder for a duck; and Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner departed in successive balls from offspinner Kedar Jadhav.

Doug Bracewell scrapped hard in adding 41 with Latham before Southee became the first New Zealand batsman at No 10 to score an ODI half century.

He struck some clean blows, taking 27 in the space of 14 balls at one point, before swinging across the line to be caught.

All the while Latham worked the ball about, 39 of his runs coming in singles, before striking a four then six in consecutive Amit Mishra deliveries just before last man Ish Sodhi was dismissed.

Latham has been New Zealand's most successful batsman on the Indian tour by a street.

Too many dismissals were far too soft, but at least Latham and Southee had given the New Zealand bowlers something to work with, although the challenge seemed an easy one for India at the halfway point.

Pandya and Yadav, both bowling at over 140kph, were impressive in sharing five wickets while Jadhav got two and Mishra three but also took some punishment.

New Zealand have won just five ODIs in India and lost 21 before tonight's match.

- NZ Herald

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