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Saturday, March 21, 2009

India register their first win, two more to come

It looks very unlikely that if the rains stay away, India will not be able to make a clean sweep of the current series against New Zealand. In terms of experience, expertise, planning and strategy the visitors are looking stronger than the hosts. The Black Caps could hardly stretch the Indians to the fourth day - so strong was the execution of the plans that the Indians had laid out.

In hindsight, it looks like MS Dhoni wanted to give his team-mates a taste of the seam conditions, in the final ODI - that would be the one reason why India batted first. Although he mentioned in his press conference that he had made a mistake, it looks like it was a well-thought strategy to get used to the wickets. Similarly, his decision to bowl first on the green wicket showed the confidence that he had on his seam attack.

All his bowlers chipped in the first session to reduce the hosts to 60-6, from which they could never recover. Centuries by their captain and Jesse Ryder helped them to get to a respectable total but obviously it was not enough on a pitch that behaved much better after the first session. The fielders backed the bowlers very well by picking their catches. The bowlers were rotated very well during the innings such that none of them got tired during the innings. The ends at which they bowled were also changed so that they had an opportunity to bowl against and with the wind.

Then, the batsmen took over. Right from Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid and then Zaheer Khan at the tail, all the batsmen scored fifties to support the legendary Sachin Tendulkar to post a huge total. Sehwag's early departure notwithstanding, the Indians scored runs at such a pace that they had 2 days to get the remaining Kiwi wickets. Sachin showed that his class had not diminished one bit, even after so many years. His hunger still remains, as it was in his first year in international cricket.

It was the turn of their lead spinner, Harbhajan Singh, to get going in the second innings. He has always not performed overseas as compared to the Indian wickets - this was a chance that he did not leave. He grabbed six to hasten the collapse of the NewZealand innings.

Overall, it was a clinical team effort from India to grab the lead in the series. The Rockstars have started the test series in the same way as the ODIs. The end result will be also no different.
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