If New Zealand secure a draw or better against India in the second test at Kolkata, it will register as one of the country's finest cricketing feats.

The significance of their predecessors' efforts to win two and draw 16 tests in 32 appearances in India resonates when you see the attrition the players face.

The incumbents have presumably grown a new layer of respect for the men who won at Nagpur in 1969 and Mumbai in 1988.

Openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham had negotiated their way to 55 at lunch on the fourth day, chasing 376 to win.


That figure seems arbitrary at present. The highest chase in 40 matches and 82 years of tests at the venue is 120-2 by India v South Africa in 2004. The highest fourth innings score is 325-3 by India against West Indies for a draw in 1948.

However, Latham and Guptill took the shine off the ball, left with positive intent outside off stump and generally played the matador to India's bowling bulls.

They regularly rotated the strike and forced the hosts' attack to recalibrate during overs. Given the swift cadence of both tests, it was a welcome plot twist.