New Zealand entered the two-Test series against India with a sea of confidence following an emphatic one-day series win against India. Though the top order failed to get the runs, the middle order was solid and helped New Zealand to clinch the one-day series comprehensively. They exploited the Indian weakness perfectly. The main weakness of India is if a pair is settled, the Indian bowlers would feel the heat and consequently, they don’t find a way to get them out. At the time, they look to control the run-flow rather than going for wickets.
New Zealand, once again, reproduced the same kind of performance in the Test series and again India’s flaw was exposed. The Kiwis lost the first three wickets in quick succession and went into the lunch at 54/3. But the way Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson batted showed that they are capable of handling tense situations.
Perhaps they knew that if they settle down, Indian bowlers could be pushed onto the backfoot. That’s exactly what happened in the first innings as the pair put on 221 runs for the fourth wicket which is the highest partnership so far in the match. The duo negotiated the initial part of the innings well and once they settled in, they started dominating the Indian bowling attack.
Also the second highest partnership in this match is between Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson. They put on an unbeaten 78-run stand for the fifth wicket which in turn helped New Zealand to post a formidable score at stumps on Day 1.
Here’s the statistics of partnerships in the first innings of New Zealand at Auckland.
|1st||19||9.5||1.93||HD Rutherford(6), Fulton(12)||-||1/19 (9.5)|
|2nd||4||2.2||7.1||PG Fulton(1), KS Williamson(3)||1/19(9.5)||2/23(12.1)|
|3rd||7||5.0||1.40||LRPL Taylor(3), KS Williamson(4)||2/23(12.1)||3/30(17.1)|
|4th||221||51.0||4.33||KS Williamson(106), BB McCullum(109)||3/30(17.1)||4/251(68.1)|
|5th||78*||21.5||3.57||BB McCullum(34), Corey Anderson(42)||4/251(68.1)||329/4(90)*|
Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum scored greater part of the runs against Ravindra Jadeja. MS Dhoni had brought Ravindra Jadeja because of the majority right-handed batsmen in the Black caps side. Dhoni was expecting Jadeja to turn the ball squarer, but there wasn’t much for the spinners. Therefore Jadeja was not able to trouble them like he did to the Proteas batsmen at Durban and the duo played with ease against Jadeja.
Here are the stats of Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum against each bowler.
The unbeaten fifth wicket stand between Anderson and McCullum will be critical for New Zealand. If they can resist the Indian attack till the first session, India could be in a spot of bother. In contrast, if India’s pacers can make some early inroads tomorrow, New Zealand’s lower order would be tested. Therefore the fifth wicket partnership will be critical for both the teams.
So, it will be an intersting Day 2