Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs India, ICC World Test Championship, 1st Test

New Zealand 348 (Williamson 89, Taylor 44, Jamieson 44, Sharma 5-68, Ashwin 3-99) and 9 for 0 beat India 165 (Rahane 46, Jamieson 4-39, Southee 4-49) and 191 (Agarwal 58, Southee 5-61, Boult 4-39) trail by 10 wickets

The big boys of New Zealand fast bowling, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, did the business with the old ball to seal their 100th Test win, on the fourth morning at Basin Reserve. Twenty-eight of those wins have come in matches that Boult and Southee have played together. Their pin-point planning and execution made sure India’s resistance on the third evening didn’t count for much. Boult started the slide, and Southee burst through the opening to bowl India out for 191, setting New Zealand’s batsmen a target of just nine runs. It ended India’s seven-match winning streak, and New Zealand’s run of three losses.

India began the day 39 behind with six wickets in hand and 15 overs to go the new ball, hoping to set New Zealand some sort of target, but Boult and Southee were excellent with the old ball. On a clear and still morning, which aids swing in Wellington, they switched from their bouncers plan to look for more traditional modes of dismissals. Boult looked to set Ajinkya Rahane up for the lbw, but the pitch didn’t have enough pace for that to succeed. So he went around the wicket to get one to seam away a touch. Rahane had to play the angle, but the movement away took his edge.

Then Southee got to his work of setting up batsmen. First up Hanuma Vihari who had toughed it out for 76 balls before this over started. Southee began with a full outswinger that didn’t tempt Vihari. Then he got closer and fuller, drawing a loose shot from Vihari, but not getting the edge. With the third ball, he scrambled the seam to play with the scrambled mind of the batsman. The ball pitched outside off and jagged back in. Vihari still had the outswinger in mind, and was bowled.

Southee did the same with R Ashwin, whom he had bowled with an outswinger, first ball, in the first innings. This time the outswinger pitched and nipped back in to trap Ashwin in front. All seven wickets till this point had fallen to these two bowlers, so both were on for five-fors.

Boult could have sealed his when he drew a bat-pad from Ishant Sharma with what was the last ball of his spell, but Tom Latham shelled it at short leg. Boult was off to take a break before the new ball became available. Colin de Grandhomme soon drew the uppish drive from Sharma, but now Southee dropped him at short cover. The second drop, as it turned out, ended up helping him getting the five-for. Before the new ball, though, de Grandhomme managed to get through the defences of Sharma.

With India only slightly in lead, Rishabh Pant had no choice but to go after the new ball. As he flicked one off the pads off Southee, Boult pulled off a smart catch at fine leg to make it a matter of time. And that matter of time was only three balls for Jasprit Bumrah, who guided Southee to second slip for a low catch to substitute fielder Daryl Mitchell.

The man he was substituting for, Tom Blundell, came out to bat and help knock off the target, which was a positive sign after he spent the whole second innings off the field with a shoulder injury he suffered when fielding in India’s first.

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