The New Zealand team is not a great team but they had performers who came to the fore at the time the team wanted. This, in the final analysis, proved to be much better than the talented bunch of Indian players. The proof-point of this fact is the way the Indian team rallied back in the 3rd and 4th innings - other than Southee and Wagner, none of the bowlers were creating any trouble for the batsmen. Of course, the umpires were wrong in couple of dismissals but the Indians could have done better with their shot selection. Once settled, it was upto Kohli and Dhawan to take the team closer to victory.
The Indian bowlers reduced their opponents to 30-3 but for some reason tried to bounce out the opposition rather than focusing on a fuller length. Catching was also disastrous in the first innings - on this topic, credit should go to Ravindra Jadeja for his catching in the match. He must be given the benefit of wicket-taker than the bowler (Ishant Sharma, in particular, who was lucky to get nine wickets in the match).
Who needs to pull up their socks then? Well, the Indian team on a whole, needs to pull up the socks and perform from the first session and sustain the pressure throughout the match to win. Pujara, Rahane and Vijay have to put more runs on the board while the others have to be consistent in both innings of the match. It was a rare double-failure from Pujara's end but we know that it was just a statistical anamoly - look out for him in the next match. Vijay played well but was unlucky in the second innings (just like Rahane). Rohit needs to do more than what he did in this match but signs of progress were visible.
On the bowling front, there is no scope for any changes other than an injury. Pandey could be considered in place of a regular batsman like Rahane but that means the batting becomes weaker than it is. If only they can bowl like they did in the second innings, glory days are just ahead. In terms of tactics, the Indian batting in the last innings was just spot-on - Jadeja and Dhoni put pressure on the bowlers and it almost paid off. This is the exact way Jadeja needs to play in test matches for there is no reason to hold back. Of course, Jaddu has to be more circumspect with his batting and not let adrenaline make him go astray.
Though the Indians lost their 10th test match (with one draw), the Indians are getting closer to the elusive overseas victory.
Question for the ICC and other boards
- Why shouldn't the 3rd umpire call back the batsman if he can see on the TV replays that the bowler had delivered a no-ball? Dhoni was not out if the on-field umpires had referred to the third-umpire.
- Why are the TV aids upto the Boards for implementation? Why not use it uniformly - here, I am not talking about the DRS but the other aids that are available. Each series has its own way of figuring out the disputes (whether its to determine the boundary (four or six) or to identify whether a catch has been taken properly). With the financial clout they have on hand, the Indian Board should take a lead here as well.