India seal series

Day Four, Kolkata, Eden Gardens

In Short
Despite two quality partnerships to begin their run chase, and another cameo from Luke Ronchi (32), the BLACKCAPS came up 178 runs short in pursuit of 376 to win the second Test against India on day four in Kolkata.

Opener Tom Latham played superbly for his 74 and together with Martin Guptill (24) and Henry Nicholls (24), helped the visitors to 104-1 mid way through the second session.

However, wickets would fall periodically throughout the afternoon, with Ravi Ashwin, Mohammad Shami and Ravindra Jadeja claiming three wickets a piece to eventually dismiss the BLACKCAPS for 197.

Scorecard

Indian wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha claimed the man of the match award for his important pair of half centuries and quality glove work.

The third and final Test starts in Indore on Saturday.

Numbers
4 opening batsmen before Tom Latham to score 50 in the fourth innings
11 wins in India's last 12 Tests on home soil
15 lbw decisions in the match - the most for a Test in India
26 wickets fell to seam bowlers in the Test
50 strike-rate exactly in Latham’s innings of 74
99 Test wickets for Neil Wagner
500 First-Class wickets for Neil Wagner

With the bat 
Tom Latham was a rock for the BLACKCAPS at the start of the second innings, guiding his team through to 100-1 and maintaining a glimmer of hope that the visitors could pull off a miracle. While no shooting stars appeared, that certainly wasn’t the fault of Latham, who made things as tough as possible on the Indian bowlers. Couldn’t break the century drought for the series, but a fine innings nonetheless. 

With the ball 
Mohammed Shami delivered the ball of the match to BJ Watling, sending the wicketkeeper’s off-stump cart wheeling in spectacular fashion. Having peppered the BLACKCAPS middle-order with full swinging deliveries, the Indian spear-head brought it back to a good length and shaped in an absolute peach. It left Watling helpless, India hysterically excited and the umpires needing a hammer to put the stump back in the ground. 

In the field
With world renowned gully Kane Williamson out of the Test with illness, Tom Latham stepped in to fill the role for the BLACKCAPS skipper and has shown himself to be a more than adequate substitute. After taking a diving chance to dismiss Virat Kohl in the first-innings, Latham helped bring India’s second innings to a close with a low sprawling effort to send Mohammed Shami back to the shed. It took confirmation from the third umpire to deem it clean, but replays proved it to be another sharp take from Latham. 

Quirk
It’s not often you see a fielder in the circle running around wearing a helmet in 40 degree heat, but Murali Vijay bucked that trend during the second session. After it was deemed he no longer needed to be in close for the batsman, Vijay retired to cover in the grill rather than taking it off and placing it in the customary position behind the keeper. Quite a comical look!

This is India
Virat Kolli channelled his inner Lebron James when India were bowling, wildly waving his arms to the crowd to try and amp them up and get behind their home side.  Not usually quiet, this sent Indian fans into a frenzy. In 40 degree heat with people screaming at you, it made it quite the hostile environment for the BLACKCAPS. Kohli's actions evoked memories of the long jumpers at the Rio Olympics firing up the crowd for their jump into the put!

Quote
“India played the better cricket for four days and won the key moments.” - Ross Taylor

Day Three

In Short
The BLACKCAPS showed plenty of character on day three in Kolkata, first by fighting back with the bat before reducing India to 227 for 8 at stumps in the second Test.

Jeetan Patel proved an unexpected batting inspiration earlier in the day, plundering his way to a run a ball 47 to sneak the visitors total past 200.

The second session would be all the BLACKCAPS with Matt Henry and Trent Boult grabbing five wickets between them, as India stumbled to tea at 110 for six.

Henry and Mitchell Santner would finish with three wickets a piece, while Wriddhiman Saha (39*) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8*) will resume for the hosts on day four and try and build on their 339 run lead.

Scorecard

Numbers
2 more wickets needed by Neil Wagner to claim 100 Test wickets and tie Richard Hadley’s 25 Test record for the fastest Kiwi to the milestone.
6 New Zealand fast bowlers have taken three of more wickets in both innings of a Test in India, now including Matt Henry!
16 maidens in the match for Trent Boutl
27 previous highest score by Jeetan Patel in a Test match.
233 is the highest fourth innings total by a visiting team at Eden Gardens.

With the bat
He was picked in this match for his off spinners, but Jeetan Patel’s batting lead the BLACKCAPS resurgence on day three. He played confidently and breezed his way to 47 off 47 before trying to take Ashwin over the top. Crucial runs and the difference between disappointment and disaster.
Rohit Sharma probably should take out this section for his classy 82. Walked to the wicket with his side at 43 for 4 and left with them 209 for 7.

With the ball
He may have finished with just two wickets, but Trent Boult bowled beautifully on day three. His accuracy, swing and pace were on point and he asked countless questions of the Indians in 14 demanding overs which featured five maidens and only conceded 28 runs. He also claimed the big wicket of an ominous looking Virat Kohli on 45.

In the field
When BJ Watling went down with cramp during the tea break, Luke Ronchi dutifully stepped up and took over the gloves without blemish and claimed an important late catch off Santner to remove danger man Sharma.
Honourable mentioned must go to Jimmy Neesham who came on as a sub and made a sky ball from Ravindra Jadeja seem like a lollipop!

Quote
“We weren’t going to let them just drift away with the game - we wanted to make them earn every run.” - Trent Boult

Day Two In short
India’s fast bowling ace Bhuvneshwar Kumar secured his side the advantage on day two of the second Test in Kolkata, taking 5-33 and reducing the BLACKCAPS to 128-7 at stumps.

After the India tail wagged to scrap through to a first-innings total of 316, the BLACKCAPS were in need of strong partnerships up front to try and overhaul the host’s total.

Such hopes took a hit early on, with both openers departing in the opening three overs. Mohammad Shami and Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with wickets, but it was Kumar who devastated the BLACKCAPS batting line-up, dismissing stand-in captain Ross Taylor (36) and Mitchell Santner (11) before stumps.

It leaves the BLACKCAPS still trailing by 188 runs and in dire need of a significant partnership on day three.

Numbers
15 runs combined for the BLACKCAPS top three
138 minutes the players were off the field with rain
145 kmph delivery from Shami in his second spell with the ball

With the bat
Luke Ronchi didn’t curb his attacking style, even when he came out to the middle with the BLACKCAPS in trouble at 23-3. He and Ross Taylor put on 52 for the fourth wicket, but it was Ronchi's straight drive off Kumar which grabbed the biggest ‘ooh’ from Kiwi fans. With the ball doing plenty, Ronchi merely leant on a full and straight one and sent it rocketing to the boundary rope.

With the ball
The India seamers made sure the home side were on top at the end of day two, slicing through the BLACKCAPS top three and putting the visitors under all sorts of pressure. They followed up the initial onslaught with a second devastating spell after the rain, with Kumar doing the bulk of the damage.

In the field
Another niggly last wicket partnership for India had the BLACKCAPS frustrated in the first session, with Shami and Saha putting on 35 to close out India’s innings. It took a special catch from Matt Henry to end the stand, who ran round and made a diving catch on the run and send Shami on his way. Not a bad effort for a fast bowler who had been in the field for 105 overs.

Why Test cricket isn’t boring
A pace bowler took five wickets in India. Bouncers, swing both ways and bit of nip – a far cry from Kanpur and not exactly what the BLACKCAPS were expecting. But credit to Kumar– he threatened with nearly every ball and des.

It’s India when…
The physio and team doctor are being asked for selfies by fans. If you’re wearing a BLACKCAPS uniform of any kind, you’re popular!

In Short
A disciplined bowling display by the BLACKCAPS has them slightly on top of India after the opening day of the second Test at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Four wickets in the final session saw the hosts reach stumps at 239 for 7, with Matt Henry claiming 3 for 35 on his return to the Test side.

It was brave effort from the BLACKCAPS who are without captain Kane Williamson due to illness.

Ross Taylor lead the side which also featured the return of young batsman Henry Nicholls and spinner Jeetan Patel.

Numbers
3 years since Patel last played for the BLACKCAPS
7 straight tosses won at home by India…
27 maidens bowled by the BLACKCAPS on day one
14th Test as captain of New Zealand for Ross Taylor
250th home Test for India
1999 was the last time more than three wickets fell in the opening session of a Test at Eden Gardens
2222nd international Test … feet up for five days?

With the bat
Ajinkya Rahane was the pick of the Indian batsman. Played beautifully for his 77 which included 11 boundaries. Lovely balance and poise at the crease. Combined in a 141 run third wicket partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara.

With the ball
Returning to the Test team - Matt Henry made a real statement. Knocked over both the Indian openers in the first half an hour and generally looked threatening. Returned late in the day with the second new ball to claim the dangerous wicket of Ravi Ashwin. Well done to the young man!
Jeetan Patel gets an honourable mention for his 2 for 66 efforts. Bowled like he’d never stopped playing Test cricket and made the double breakthrough of Sharma and Rahane in the final session. Was also singled out as the pick of the bowlers by Rahane in his post day comments to the press. Not bad for a guy who only arrived from Birmingham the day before the game!

In the field
Tom Latham’s fielding has gone from strength to strength since he made the BLACKCAPS. He claimed a smart one under the lid off Patel to remove Sharma in the final session and earlier took a very classy catch in the gully to claim Viral Kohli’s scalp. The ball flew quickly and high to his right off the outside edge of a lavish Kohli cover drive that wasn’t quite there. Latham pouched it at full stretch like a football keeper. Made a tough catch look comfortable.

Why Test cricket isn’t boring
For the most part of day one the BLACKCAPS toiled hard for no reward in the hot cauldron of Eden Gardens. They bowled 52 overs without a breakthrough, but stuck to their guns and were rewarded with four late wickets. That’s Test cricket. The harder you have to work the sweater the reward!

It’s India
The roar that rings around Eden Gardens when India prosper is something to behold. It’s like a harrowing shrill to visiting teams.

Quote
“The spinners bowled really well and built pressure which I think manifested into what happened at the end of the day.” - Matt Henry

Scorecard

First session

After winning another toss, India elected to bat in the second Test against the BLACKCAPS at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Recalled Canterbury pace bowler Matt Henry did the early damage for the visitors, removing both openers inside the first half an hour.

Henry had Shikhar Dhawan played on in his first over, before he removed Murali Vijay with an absolute jaffa that angled in and seamed away to take the outside edge through to keeper BJ Watling.

Trent Boult then capped off an impressive first session with the ball by dismissing Virat Kohl for nine.

The BLACKCAPS plan to get the Indian captain caught in the gully working a treat as Tom Latham moved high and to his right to snaffle the flying outside edge.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane got the hosts to lunch at 57-3.

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