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Monday, December 6, 2021

a big win for India at Wankhede

At Wankhede, Newzealand folded this morning without much fight and in someways that was more expected .. .. it still baffles why Kohli choose not to enforce follow-on and if he had, perhaps the result would have been obtained much earlier and perhaps easier too. 

Overall India has played New Zealand in 62 tests and have won 22 times.  At Home – it is 36 tests and a win of 17.

When young, remember that test at Auckland in Jan 1976 when India scored a facile win.  Dilip Vengsarkar, Surinder Amarnath and Syed Kirmani debuted.  Sunil Gavaskar was the make-shift Captain. Surinder made a century on debut but played only 10 tests for India, while Kirmani played 88 and Vengsarkar 116 tests.  That victory abroad was enabled by some brilliant spin of Bhagwat Chandrasekhar 6/94 in the first and Erapalli Prasanna’s 8/76 in the second.  However, in the 3rd test of the tour, Indians were bowled out for 81 with Richard Hadlee taking 7/23.

India achieved victory over Kiwis back in Dec 1955 at Mumbai  - hosts made 421/8 with Vinoo Mankad scoring a double century.  Kiwis followed on making 258 & 136 – losing by  an innings and 27 runs.   Batting for nearly eight hours, Mankad hit twenty-two 4's.  that time too, it was a spinner Subash  Gupte, who turned his leg-breaks appreciably.

This 2nd test at Wankhede that ended today would be remembered for Mayank Agarwal’s 150 & 62; NZ bowled out for 62 in first   (Ashwin 4-8, Siraj 3-19) and 167 ( Ashwin 4-34, Jayant 4-49)  - a loss margin of 372 runs, some reckless batting by Ross Taylor and more than everything that 10 wicket haul of Ajaz Patel.

Any hopes of NZ making some fight or staying longer was wiped out with Jayant Yadav striking   thrice in the first half hour of the fourth morning and four times in nine legal deliveries to finish with career-best figures of 4 for 49, as India wrapped up their biggest win in terms of runs - 372 - and also handed New Zealand their biggest loss. The result sealed the series 1-0 for the hosts who  regained the No. 1 spot in ICC Test rankings, with New Zealand on second place now. 

The not much heralded Ajaz Patel ended up savouring every moment with a match haul of 14 for 225, becoming the best figures in any test ending up on the losing side. Our own  Javagal Srinath previously held the record with 13 for 132 against Pakistan in Kolkata in 1999. The previous best innings figures in a losing cause were 9 for 83 by Kapil Dev against West Indies in 1983 – and in that Ahmedabad test, it was a great bowling effort and a very meek surrender by Indian batsmen.

372 is too huge – this is the   biggest win-margin in terms of runs in Tests for India.  The 337-run win against South Africa in Delhi in 2015 was the  previous biggest win in this format. The 372-run loss is also New Zealand's biggest defeat by runs, leaving behind the 358-run trounce from South Africa in Johannesburg in 2007.. .. .. as records tumbled, Ravichandran Ashwin added one more.  He has now taken 300 test wickets at home – following Anil Kumble.  Only 5 bowlers have scalped more than 300+ test wickets in their home country.

An Indian win, yet not the best or not the one that fills the heart of Indian fan.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Dec 2021.

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