It was one of those manic days of Test cricket in which each team will claim they got it right.
New Zealand took a risk by winning the toss and asking India to bat. NZ will feel that their decision was vindicated by getting 9 of India’s 1st Innings wickets on the opening day! NZ will also be disappointed that they let India get away to 375 after having India 205-6 at one stage! It was a poor post-Tea show from the NZ bowlers after they stuck to their task in the first two sessions — despite the pounding they received from Sehwag!
India raced at the start. It was almost as if India was playing in an ODI. Having started in that manner and having put the seed of concern in the mind of the NZ captain, the Indian top order will be disappointed that it let NZ back into the game. Everyone in the top-order barring Gautam Gambhir got out to a poor shot rather than a good ball.
Gambhir was out-thought by Franklin — a bowler who just didn’t look like taking a wicket this series. After moving a few away from the left hander, Franklin got a cross-seamer to hold its line. Gambhir was out LBW.
However, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid and Dhoni “gave it away”. And Yuvraj Singh was Yuvraj Singh!
There has been talk that the NZ bowlers bowled too short. I am not sure I agree. Of the Indian bats that got out, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Dhoni and Zaheer got out to balls that were pitched short! Harbhajan got out to a ball that seemed to stop on him a bit. Gambhir got out to a clever piece of bowling. The ball was pitched further up and held its line. Laxman chased a fuller ball that pitched outside off and swung further away.
And Yuvraj Singh was Yuvraj Singh! The only good thing about Yuvraj Singh these days is he makes the Indian fan yearn for Saurav Ganguly! The man does need to do something about his (1st Innings) batting.
Despite the fact that Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar and Dhoni got starts, India were pegged back by the NZ bowlers. But despite the somewhat poor showing from the top order, India still made 375!
So it was just one of those days of cricket!