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Review: Kiwis Hold Their Nerves As Kanpur Test Ends Drawn

After a thrilling T20I series, India and New Zealand headed to the much awaited Kanpur Test, the first of the two Tests to be held between the finalists of the inaugural World Test Championship. In the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane took over the captaincy under the new coach, Rahul Dravid.

Rahane won the toss and decided to bat first with his fellow Mumbaikar, Shreyas Iyer being presented with the Test cap number 303 on his debut. What followed in the next five days was Test cricket at its best with the match going down to the wire before weather Gods kicked in to end the match in a draw.

Here we list down how the five days went by in the Kanpur Test.

 

A FAIRYTALE DEBUT

With India opting to bat first, we saw a new opening pair of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal start the proceedings for Team India. While Shubman went on to score a half-century, Mayank failed to score big. The senior pros Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane did start well but failed to capitalise. All eyes were on the debutant Shreyas Iyer, and he made sure he did not disappoint the fans. On debut, after having a nervous start, Shreyas played a very crucial role in building the Indian innings. He scored a solid 75* which helped India end the day on a high. Ravindra Jadeja supported him as well with a well-compiled half-century.

 

THE KIWI FIGHTBACK

While Jadeja was dismissed on his overnight score of 50, Shreyas went on to score a brilliant century. A ton under pressure with such great control and responsibility on debut was certainly the highlight of the day. What followed was a Tim Southee show, as he went on to pick a five-wicket haul on a slow-paced Kanpur wicket. He dismissed the likes of Jadeja, Iyer and Saha and bundled out India for just 345 runs. While chasing the trail, Tom Latham and Will Young gave a dream start. They were well-focused and played the spin trio with great ease and comfort. Both the openers added 129 runs without losing a wicket at the end of Day 2.

 

AN AX-FACTOR ON DAY 3

Latham and Young continued the good work on Day 3, as they stitched a 150-run partnership for the opening stand. India was looking helpless until Ravichandran Ashwin and Umesh Yadav both took a wicket each on the brink of lunch, helping India open the gates on Day 3. Axar Patel who was brought into the attack by captain Rahane, went running through the Blackcaps middle-order as he picked his 5th fifer in just 4 Test matches. The day ended with India having a slender lead of 50 to play with in the second Innings.

 

A MIXED DAY IN KANPUR TEST

With India looking to impose a big target on board, they lost Gill to an in-swinging delivery by Kyle Jamieson. The debatable middle-order was again tested as Pujara went back cheaply followed by captain Rahane. With India struggling at 51-5, it looked like they might go through a major batting collapse, but Shreyas yet again showed great presence on the field, scoring a half-century. Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel added valuable runs in the end, with India deciding to declare at 234/7. With 284 runs to win, Ashwin sent back Young cheaply helping India finish high on day 4. 

 

A THRILLING TEST MATCH – A RACHIN’DRAW’ IN KANPUR

A 276-run backlog to chase down on a slow Kanpur wicket was always going to be a tough task. Latham and night-watchman William Somerville gave a good start on Day 5, giving hopes to the Kiwi supporters. They played the first session with ease without losing a wicket. The start of the second session was fruitful for Team India as Umesh Yadav got the wicket on his first ball after lunch. Williamson tried his best, but Jadeja was too good for the New Zealand captain.

The Kiwis saw a middle-order collapse in the second session, losing six wickets and assuring a win for Team India going into the last session. Jadeja picked up two LBW decisions leaving the Blackcaps in a fix. With 11 overs of play remaining, a new ball, and a lethal spin attack India would certainly be celebrating the Kanpur win. But Rachin Ravindra, another 22-year-old debutant, shattered India’s hopes as he fought for 91 minutes for the last wicket along with Ajaz Patel, to end the Test match in a draw.

 

 

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