DateLine: 4th September 2012
Virat Kohli and his skipper, MS Dhoni played stunning cricket as India went on to claim a 5-wicket win over New Zealand, with a day to spare, in their second and final Test match played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore from August 31st to September 4th.
The toss was won by New Zealand and they elected to bat first getting off to a flying start as Guptill (53) made an impact right from the beginning while their other batsmen maintained a dominant stance, a century by skipper Ross Taylor, in addition to fine supporting performances from Daniel Flynn (33), Kruger van Wyk (71), and Doug Bracewell (43) enabled the touring team to post a reasonable first innings total of 365. All this, despite the efforts of Pragyan Ojha, who claimed 5 dismisals for 99 runs and Zaheer Khan in a supporting role with 2 for 83 runs followed by 1 wicket each to Yadav and Ashwin.
As New Zealand had posted a fighting total on the board, India almost equaled it, falling just 12 runs short. Watching the way the Indian batsmen were batting, it seemed at one stage, that they would be able to easily surpass the Black Caps' score. Kohli who hit 103, Suresh Raina (55), and Dhoni (62) contributed solid scores, but the Men in Blue only reached a first innings total of 353 thanks to Tim Southee's outstanding bowling, who ripped through India's batting order claiming (7 for 64) which was recorded as the best by any Kiwi bowler on Indian Soil.
In the 2nd innings the Black Capsí batsmen were hoping to reap more fruit and build a big lead due to India's 1st inning's deficit especially with having almost two and half days to spare but were more subdued, perhaps nerves had somthing to do with it. Although, most batsmen managed to get starts, none were really able to capitalise them into substantial totals or even complete a half century. It was James Franklin (41) who remained the highest scorer during the 2nd innings. All praise for the Indian bowlers who played their part again with Ashwin emerging as the pick of the bowlers (5 for 69) and proved to be the danger man during New Zealandís second innings. Other bowlers Zaheer Khan 1 wicket, Yadav 2 and Ohja 2 all supported the cause by helping restrict Kiwis to a 2nd innings total of 248 which set the home side a 261-run chase. The New Zealanders must have been looking for 300 plus.
When it was India's turn to bat looking at a chase of 261, it appeared to upset the stability and composure of openers Gautam Gambhir (34) and Virender Sehwag (38) as they were both back in the pavilion by the 17th over, leaving the team at 83 for 2. This may have caused a little panic in the Indian camp. However, while Tendulkar (27) was unable to contribute a larger individual score, he did contribute in a 3rd-wicket partnership of 69 runs with Pujara (48) which stabilised the innings and took the score to 152 but both batsmen were dismissed by the 40th over. Once again there was a bit of excitement in the Kiwis' camp as Raina too added to India's woes, dismissed for a duck by Patel in the 44th over.
However, there was some more drama in store, as rain intrupted the match for almost 2 hours in the afternoon but despite the efforts of Jeetan Patel (3-68), Southee (1-68) and Trent Boult (1-64), New Zealand could not restrict India from cruising to 262 and claiming a 5-wicket victory by before the end of day four. Kohli (51*) and Dhoni (48*) set up a composed, unbeaten 96-run stand which got their side safely over the finish line.
With this win, India whitewashed New Zealand 2-0. Kohli was awarded as Man of the Match and Ashwin as Man of the Series. This win also marks MS Dhoni as the most successful Indian captain at home. He has won 14 Tests on Indian soil. Mohammad Azharuddin had won 13. Sourav Ganguly won 10 while Sunil Gavaskar had 7.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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