India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 4th day November 7, 2010

Jolted India switch focus to survival

ESPNcricinfo staff
The fact that the hosts, favourites at the start of the series, are battling to stay alive in the Test is an indication of how well New Zealand have overcome the Bangladesh debacle
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The last time India were five wickets down for so few in a Test, they were considered the minnows of the game. On that disastrous 1952 tour of England, they slumped to 0 for 4 in the second innings at Headingley. But worse was to follow in the final Test at The Oval, when Alec Bedser and Fred Trueman reduced them to 6 for 5. They escaped with a draw only because poor weather allowed less than 11 hours of play over the five days.

There are no dark clouds over Motera to provide succour after the penultimate day of this game and if India are to avoid the embarrassment of defeat against a side that currently has a similar standing to what they did in 1952, inspiration will have to come from someone who was part of a remarkable game here 14 years ago.

VVS Laxman, whose languid strokeplay and composure offer the best escape route, made his debut in that game, a bizarre affair where South Africa took a 21-run lead and then had India 91 for 5 in the second innings. Laxman made 51 of the 98 added while he was at the crease, and the visitors were left with 170 to win on the fourth day.

On a wearing pitch, Anil Kumble was expected to be India's most potent weapon, but instead it was Javagal Srinath with his inswingers and offcutters that caused havoc on a surface with widening cracks. From 96 for 4, South Africa slumped to 105 all out.

It was hard not to think of Srinath's spell as Chris Martin, with just eight previous five-fors in 56 Tests, scythed through a vaunted batting line-up either side of tea. Like Srinath, he kept it full and swung the ball. But as with the delivery that accounted for Sachin Tendulkar, there was also movement off the seam. Some of the shots the Indians played weren't especially clever, but credit has to go to Martin for creating a siege mentality in the batsmen's mind without even having pace support at the other end.

Pragyan Ojha's 4 for 107 earlier in the day had given India the sort of slender lead that South Africa had back in '96, but by close of play the first session had pretty much been forgotten. "It was a great spell from Martin," said Ojha afterwards. "But as we know, Bhajju pa [Harbhajan] can bat, and Laxman is still at the crease. Even when I, Zak pa [Zaheer] or Sree [Sreesanth] go out to bat, we'll definitely look to play as long as we can."

The irony of India scrapping for survival against a team blanked by Bangladesh in a one-day series last month wasn't lost on anyone, but Ojha preferred to focus on Martin's spell rather than any inadequacies within his own team. "There's little grass on the wicket," he said. "He bowled really good lines and he was bowling up which favoured him. It was bad luck for us that we lost so many wickets in a session."

India have collapsed before, most recently in Mohali against Australia, but few of those have been as unexpected as this, against a side reduced to three regular bowlers as a result of injuries to Hamish Bennett [groin strain] and Jesse Ryder [tightness in the calf]. A game that had meandered for three days and a session, with more than 900 runs scored for the loss of 15 wickets, came alive on the stroke of lunch when debutant Kane Williamson edged Ojha to slip.

Including that dismissal, 10 wickets fell for 59 runs. The fact that the crocked Bennett and the hapless Martin - who inflated his Test batting average to 2.35 with his unbeaten 3 - survived 51 balls between them suggested that there certainly weren't any demons in the pitch, which continued to be one that offered extremely slow turn and little else. "The couple of balls that he got to turn a lot were way outside off stump," said Ojha when asked about Daniel Vettori's bowling. "When he was bowling on the stumps, it wasn't doing much. That's what I felt."

That assessment also revealed just how hard it will be for India to conjure up a win on the final day. "We're confident that even if we get 160 or 170, we can make a match of it," said Ojha, though it was obvious from his demeanour and tone that he wasn't expecting anything like the minefield-drama that saw Australia slide to 93 all out at the Wankhede Stadium in 2004.

The slow bowlers will be expected to keep the batsmen on a leash and prey on their uncertainties on a dusty surface, but damage will need to be done first up, Srinath-style, if India are to get out of jail on the final day. "Any wicket, when the seamers do something with the new ball, it's a bit easier for the spinners," said Ojha. "If it's 40 for 2 or 3 when you come on to bowl, the batsmen are under pressure. You're one step ahead of them."

For now, India are several steps behind and faltering. As long as Laxman bats, hope floats. But the very fact that it's 'survival' and 'escape' that are the buzzwords on Sunday night are indicative of just how much New Zealand have stepped up their game since the misadventure in Bangladesh. Win or lose - a draw is unlikely - they'll have the satisfaction of leaving Motera knowing that they gave India a very bloody nose. And in the twilight of his career, it was the soon-to-be-36 Martin who landed Phantom punches that Ali would have been proud of.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 8, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    What is wrong with some of you ?? it's clear that most of you who come here and comment dont know anything about cricket,but the main thing you all lack is gratitude.......freaking loosers,when dravid scored a 100,you were praising him and with just one failure,you started throwing stones at him !! dravid is a gr8 player......and will always be !! I also saw some of you saying Raina should be out,he is a poor player of pace,etc......The guy is pure class,universally talented and is the only discovery for the future !! this new zealand attack is nothing special.......so if he can score 86 against the aussie pacers on the mohali track,then how is he a poor player just because of one match where he couldn't score ?? his failure may also be due to the recent false and utterly baseless allegations of match fixing,which must have affected his concentration !! you all are only helping those who made these allegations as they know he is key to india's WC chances...so CUT HIM SOME SLACK !!

  • Hindh on November 8, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    What a slap on the face for all those bagging India haha.... All they got to watch was a magnificent Bhajji century.LOL......

  • Hindh on November 8, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    @all sl and pak fans INdia is no 1 for this exact reason of not giving up they are completely down and out . India the deserving NO 1 team. Gud luck.....

  • CandidIndian on November 8, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    @Razor88- You are correct ,no wickets till lunch , India is in a comfortable position now, celebration of some guys who were thinking that India will fall down in 5 overs and NZ will win the match is over now . @ all Indian team haters -guys cheer for your team and pray for their victory instead of making blatant comments about Indian team.Even the best teams in the world can have a bad day like it happened with India but good teams fight back hard like it has happened in this match , at Mohali recently against Australia and very recently SL vs Australia.One bad day for India and some guys jumping in this virtual world as if its an end of Indian cricket.Too much excitement eh?

  • KARTHIK...KILLERS on November 8, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    To all those who had to jump their guns and criticise india ..on your face..i think u critics can never accept india being no.1 and keep waiting for one opportunity to start criticising india ..u got to wait till the match is actually over and to all those who thought india is gonna hang on ..SPOT ON!!! now the match is going to be a draw!! the NO.1 team played like a No.1 team and the NO.8 played like a NO.8 !!!

  • Vnott on November 8, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    This game is not yet over. If India puts on 200, there is good chance India will still win. 200 runs and 2 seasons is all that is required on a 5th day pitch. But there are some hard questions to answer. Dravid is averaging 50+ in the last 18 months but has been inconsistent for too long. We should play Laxman at 3 and move Dravid to 5. Also Gambhir needs a break from tests. Allow him to play one day and get his confidence back. We need to tighten batting if we need to have a chance against SA in SA.

  • Biggus on November 8, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    @sagitrama-Good comment mate. It's just a game. I sometimes feel, as you say, that some Indian fans are a little too serious about something that is really meant to be a pleasant experience, and veer from a mocking and disrespectful attitude when India are winning to abject depression when they lose. Too many times I see words like disgrace, pathetic, laughing stock, idiot, fool, loser etc. Cricket is such a beautiful game and is better off without this hyper-emotionally charged rhetoric. Your comment made me feel good to be part of our international group of cricket players and enthusiasts. May the best team today win! @kitten-Too right my friend, Shastri is such a dill, which is a little surprising as I considered him a player to be reckoned with. He's really a propagandist and not an analyst, and makes the worst of our Aussie commentators like Ian Healy look good by comparison. Healy is a terrible commentator who just can't hide his bias, but Shastri is worse. Give me Richie any day

  • Arunviz on November 8, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Team India could rethink about there bowling capabilities ; new faces like Seemer jaideep unadkath , 17 year old promising spinner Harmeet Singh (Mumbai ) can be tested out in place of sreesanth/ishanth & bhaji .If one legspinner was there in Indian team , Kiwis 2nd innings will be worse than that of India ..unfortunately India misses Kumble ... but Bhaji may out of track with ball , but he can bring some sweaty condolence with his bat ..all the best Indian team ..

  • mysay on November 8, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    The No.1 team now focussing on survival. The No.1 team which was playing injury struck NZ XI. Looks like the No.1 team did not have answers to a bowler who is not actually rated among the top guys. What is happening to the No.1 team??? Or was being No.1 a fluke by beating all the other tems at home??? Which ever way Laxman try to hold on, as the hope of a nation lies on you, what hppened to the yonger blood when you really need them, Oh I'm sorry I forgot that it was all a fluke.

  • Razor88 on November 8, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    @grvdubey - Rightly said!!

    To all Critics... Its NOT OVER until it over... we will accept Defeat if it happens... First Critics should worry abt 4 wickets and what you call a 5 the day Nightmare... Lets been Honest... lets see how Kiwis will perform with the bat(Provided a Daunting Target)

  • on November 8, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    What is wrong with some of you ?? it's clear that most of you who come here and comment dont know anything about cricket,but the main thing you all lack is gratitude.......freaking loosers,when dravid scored a 100,you were praising him and with just one failure,you started throwing stones at him !! dravid is a gr8 player......and will always be !! I also saw some of you saying Raina should be out,he is a poor player of pace,etc......The guy is pure class,universally talented and is the only discovery for the future !! this new zealand attack is nothing special.......so if he can score 86 against the aussie pacers on the mohali track,then how is he a poor player just because of one match where he couldn't score ?? his failure may also be due to the recent false and utterly baseless allegations of match fixing,which must have affected his concentration !! you all are only helping those who made these allegations as they know he is key to india's WC chances...so CUT HIM SOME SLACK !!

  • Hindh on November 8, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    What a slap on the face for all those bagging India haha.... All they got to watch was a magnificent Bhajji century.LOL......

  • Hindh on November 8, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    @all sl and pak fans INdia is no 1 for this exact reason of not giving up they are completely down and out . India the deserving NO 1 team. Gud luck.....

  • CandidIndian on November 8, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    @Razor88- You are correct ,no wickets till lunch , India is in a comfortable position now, celebration of some guys who were thinking that India will fall down in 5 overs and NZ will win the match is over now . @ all Indian team haters -guys cheer for your team and pray for their victory instead of making blatant comments about Indian team.Even the best teams in the world can have a bad day like it happened with India but good teams fight back hard like it has happened in this match , at Mohali recently against Australia and very recently SL vs Australia.One bad day for India and some guys jumping in this virtual world as if its an end of Indian cricket.Too much excitement eh?

  • KARTHIK...KILLERS on November 8, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    To all those who had to jump their guns and criticise india ..on your face..i think u critics can never accept india being no.1 and keep waiting for one opportunity to start criticising india ..u got to wait till the match is actually over and to all those who thought india is gonna hang on ..SPOT ON!!! now the match is going to be a draw!! the NO.1 team played like a No.1 team and the NO.8 played like a NO.8 !!!

  • Vnott on November 8, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    This game is not yet over. If India puts on 200, there is good chance India will still win. 200 runs and 2 seasons is all that is required on a 5th day pitch. But there are some hard questions to answer. Dravid is averaging 50+ in the last 18 months but has been inconsistent for too long. We should play Laxman at 3 and move Dravid to 5. Also Gambhir needs a break from tests. Allow him to play one day and get his confidence back. We need to tighten batting if we need to have a chance against SA in SA.

  • Biggus on November 8, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    @sagitrama-Good comment mate. It's just a game. I sometimes feel, as you say, that some Indian fans are a little too serious about something that is really meant to be a pleasant experience, and veer from a mocking and disrespectful attitude when India are winning to abject depression when they lose. Too many times I see words like disgrace, pathetic, laughing stock, idiot, fool, loser etc. Cricket is such a beautiful game and is better off without this hyper-emotionally charged rhetoric. Your comment made me feel good to be part of our international group of cricket players and enthusiasts. May the best team today win! @kitten-Too right my friend, Shastri is such a dill, which is a little surprising as I considered him a player to be reckoned with. He's really a propagandist and not an analyst, and makes the worst of our Aussie commentators like Ian Healy look good by comparison. Healy is a terrible commentator who just can't hide his bias, but Shastri is worse. Give me Richie any day

  • Arunviz on November 8, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Team India could rethink about there bowling capabilities ; new faces like Seemer jaideep unadkath , 17 year old promising spinner Harmeet Singh (Mumbai ) can be tested out in place of sreesanth/ishanth & bhaji .If one legspinner was there in Indian team , Kiwis 2nd innings will be worse than that of India ..unfortunately India misses Kumble ... but Bhaji may out of track with ball , but he can bring some sweaty condolence with his bat ..all the best Indian team ..

  • mysay on November 8, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    The No.1 team now focussing on survival. The No.1 team which was playing injury struck NZ XI. Looks like the No.1 team did not have answers to a bowler who is not actually rated among the top guys. What is happening to the No.1 team??? Or was being No.1 a fluke by beating all the other tems at home??? Which ever way Laxman try to hold on, as the hope of a nation lies on you, what hppened to the yonger blood when you really need them, Oh I'm sorry I forgot that it was all a fluke.

  • Razor88 on November 8, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    @grvdubey - Rightly said!!

    To all Critics... Its NOT OVER until it over... we will accept Defeat if it happens... First Critics should worry abt 4 wickets and what you call a 5 the day Nightmare... Lets been Honest... lets see how Kiwis will perform with the bat(Provided a Daunting Target)

  • Bang_La on November 8, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    @kitten, oh ravi shastri is a corporate PR man to blow out indian cricketers for promoting various (or all most all) products, so he is used to brag to magnify indian "cricketers" and belittling anyone else. I assure you, you wont hear him bragging today but criticising the pitch, sunlight, some umpiring and everything else.

  • on November 8, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    the reasons for my last comment was that you will need USD to travel to Indian subcontinent to watch WCC 2011 and now is a good time to buy USD.

  • Razor88 on November 8, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Now where did this Come from ?? :O.... Is this "Expect the Unexpected ??" :O... Yesterday was So not for the Sub - Continents.. Aussies won and Kiwis are are On Pursuit of one :|... I'm totally out of words... It was that kinda Spell From Martin... Hope Atleast Now Martin's Critics will Keep their Mouth Shut... Well Lets be Honest... India Lost the Edge they had after the 2nd Kiwi Wicket... Since then Its been Black all over For the Blues :|.... Nothing can stop me From Praying for a Miracle :( and Hope it happens.... *Where is this Rain when You need them the most :|* If india Can Scratch some Runs under their Belt... Maybe Kiwi's will do Comedy of errors.. Hats Off Martin.. With only 3 Front line Bowlers fit... and being the Lone Seamer,Can't ask a better Performer....*Mommy Save me from Phantom*

  • avmd on November 8, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Go Martin go, you can do it. After Australia, its time for India to come down to earth. I'm sure you know the new "wall", its not Dravid anymore, its VVS . If you can pass through Tendulkars defences, you can do the same to VVS. Unfortunately he puts even more price to his wickets. Great test match, I had no plan to watch it, but now can't wait the play to start on the final day.

  • avis1001 on November 8, 2010, 3:05 GMT

    As long as the Three-Gorges Dam Laxman is there, India will be Fine !!!

  • on November 8, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    Folks, dont turn your guns just yet, it is too early. NZ have to take 4 more wickets and score some thing like 150+ (i guess india will set them at least 150). All india need is a good 50+ partnership from here on to save this match. Wait and watch. Itz not all over yet.

  • Sumeet.Gupta on November 8, 2010, 2:30 GMT

    IMHO Rahul dravid must gracefully retire. I know we have lots of tough series coming up, with SA the top of the list. but dravid being so low on confidence won't do us any good over there. His mind is cluttered with cobwebs, leading to his failures, his 1st innings century notwithstanding. It's not a knee-jerk reaction since his last 3 years have been nowhere to his standard. and he's blocking youngsters like Pujara and Vijay. It's better to lose in SA, Aus, Eng without Dravid than to see this great batsman struggle all along. Oh, and btw whatever happened to his slip catching!!

  • mdhyderali on November 8, 2010, 1:38 GMT

    India always plays competitive cricket.. They match with Aus when they are No.1 and match Bang,NZ when India are No.1!!!!!. Good Advertisement for cricket!!!

  • on November 8, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Lakmal

    Just bcos your team won against a 3rd rated Aussie team doesn't warrant you to give comments like these.

    BTW, Sachin is far ahead of any modern batsmen today and comparing Mahela to him is hilarious. Sanka... is still ok to a certain extent.

  • Alexk400 on November 8, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    I have not seen one guy criticizing sachin for his choking. It is unbelievable. When people start to see exactly what is infront of them without bias , then only india can improve.

    At present dead weights india are sachin sachin sachin and gambhir.

    One idiot even has the guts to cricticze sehwag , without his score this game would have over by 3 days.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 8, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    @Klobania, it is hihg time you gave up on Sachin critique and focus on mahela and sangkara who folded without opening the account at first sight of green at GABA :)

  • Humdingers on November 8, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    The Kiwis deserve this victory. Good solid battlers! The Indians need this lesson in humility and for taking their opponents too lightly. They may be no.1 (for now) and a "good" team, but will never be considered one of the "great" teams. Lots of questions will be asked: When is the last time Dhoni has contributed significantly (with the bat) in a test match? If Raina can't play short balls on Indian pitches what hope does he have overseas? Dravid's ton was painful!

  • PTtheAxis on November 8, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    dravid does it again ! when going down take a few with you... no3 is a spot for an agressive confident batsman. a defender there is only required to save games. he stalls all momentum built up by sehwag. and what was tendulkar doing in the first innings after a healthy fast paced start ? he along with dravid brought the run rate (momentum) down which led to the eventual collapse.

  • on November 7, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    All the Indian supporters who thought India would basically bash the Kiwis- just because Bangladesh destroyed New Zealand 4-0 in the recently consluded one-day series received a RUDE awakening! Cricket is still decided by 11 vs 11 on the field and not media hype. Also probably shows Bangladesh in home conditions is a much better than team than Indians and others care to admit!

  • adavidk on November 7, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    Don't you just love cricket. I'm a cricket diehard who was a teenager during the Hadlee era and so have seen the best and some of the worst of N.Z. cricket and the fourth day's play showed that David can indeed slay Goliath. My fear, however, is that New Zealand will not be able to close it out (I really hope they can), but even if they can't, WHAT A DAY! A splendid innings by a young man (Williamson) who was tipped for great deeds even before he played first-class cricket and an autumnal revival for a journeyman fast bowler (Martin) who I thought was holding onto a place based on past deeds. Go New Zealand and give all those who thought New Zealand cricket was dead and buried after the Bangladesh debacle cause for belief in the future.

  • cricket__fan on November 7, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    NZ should win by a huge margin just after lunch on the final day. India lost the match on the morning of day 2, when resuming on 3/329, Sachin and Laxman batted very very slow and gave away the initiative to New Zealand.The Indian batting has been without any purpose, bowling just hopeless and fielding not even worth mentioning. The last two NZ batsmen batted for 51 balls - The top Indian 5 (except Laxman) batted for a combined total of 49 balls against NZ bowling attack, which must be the weakest in world cricket at the moment.

  • mak102480 on November 7, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    man oh man...how people turn. yeah it was a bad performance but over the past few years this hasn't been the norm when you compare it to the indian teams of the past. this was an exception. it can happen to the best of them...give credit to martin. his bowling was great...........lot of people saying this indian team is overrated?? hmmm...look at the series overseas in the past few years...won a test series in england ('06 or '07) and drew the series in england before that (in '02), won a test series in WI, won a test series in pak, drew a test series in aus ('03-04) and should have won in aus in '07-'08 (if not for the the sydney debacle). won a series in NZ last year when india has never done well in the past...drew a series in sri lanka where it is tough to win for everybody....the only team that india hasn't matched up well this decade is SA....Is this indian team as good as WI of 80s-90s and aussies of 90s-00s? Not even close...nobody is claiming that. but give it some credit.

  • braindead_rocker on November 7, 2010, 23:14 GMT

    India will either win or draw this match...Even if they lose, they will win the next match handsomely.

  • pk_cric_rox on November 7, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    i dont think india can lose this match. even though nz r in gud position and india doesnt have a good bowling attack to defend small total on a sub continent wicket.but dhoni is a lucky captain.he doesnt have great tactics or strategy but he is a damn lucky boy.good luck india :)

  • Zookinii on November 7, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    Who would've thought the number 1 team in the world would be reduced to 15 for 5 by the 6th ranked team in the world? It's a sad sight for me to see India go down like this, but well done to new zealand who are showing such spirit and determination. Please consider selecting a young player like pujara or vijay over Gambhir for the next match. Gambhir seems to be on a decline right now. Also it's very interesting that even when Dhoni was batting with Laxman commentators were saying that India now depended on Laxman to turn the game around otherwise they would be doomed. It seems there's no faith in Dhoni these days. Hope Dhoni can bat well for the next game. These two players, Dhoni and Gambhir were ranked best ODI and Test players for 2009 and just see, in 2010 they have slipped completely, though rankings may say otherwise. I hoping we can see a better performance from Dhoni at least in the near future.

  • sagitrama on November 7, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    Always be proud of your team and respect the opposition team whether you are No.1 or No. 10 team. I see that when India is on top, we indians lose respect for the opposition team and when we are down, we are not proud of our own team. Lets not forget that this is the same Indian team that won against Eng, Aus, SA, Sri Lanka and WI to bcom no. 1 team. Also this is the same NZ team that reached the finals of the Champions Trophy.

  • on November 7, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    You Know batsman have been falling away most of the times in 2nd innings. As soon as they are under pressure in 2nd innings, they just invite more pressure. Its a case of one under-performing dept. putting pressure on another dept. Dravid is failing to be even nearer to his reputation. How can India expect to win in SA which such bad seam attack(barring ZAK) and under performing spin attack. The bowling is toothless and batting crumbles under a little bit pressure. And yes Dhoni do lack imagination but not on field but in his squad . That's where I felt Ganguly was better. He was able to bring new good players consistently in his team like Kaif, Irfan, Sreesanth, Sehwag. Dhoni does not put money on good horses or he fails to bring out best in players.E.g. Jadeja, Ojha, Sreesanth , Harbhajan and Yusuf Pathan...and these are some players who perform amazingly well after a little bit of faith shown in them. But by time I'm sure Dhoni wud improve.

  • Nazmul-Islam on November 7, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    Current state of the match shows the progress that Bangladesh cricket team has made in the last two years. The Kiwi batsmen handled the Indian spinners quite easily in the 1st innings. In the recent series against BD, I saw some of their feet trembling at the sight of Shakib Al Hasan & Co. They did not have any clue Whatsoever!

    We need a lot more effort to become a strong force in World Cricket. But we are becoming a formidable force (at least for the non subcontinental teams) at home.

  • on November 7, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    Guys relax.This game is still miles away from being over. Kiwis did show great fight to put themselves into winning position. This has presented our team with another opportunity to dig deep and pull themselves out of this hole(they have shown it in last couple of games). Any target of over 150 should test the kiwis. Looking forward to an exciting day of cricket. Love test cricket.

  • on November 7, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    Before this match began the conventional wisdom was that it would be a "walk in the park" for India. As we can now see it has not been a walk in the park as some of the NZ batsmen actually put up some resistance. I think that they(NZ) were very little on the board for 4 or 5 wickets but Ryder and the other guy did a fine job. So no test series is ever a "walk in the park". As we know a match can change in one session, in half an hour or even in a couple of deliveries. In all of the test playing nations, probably in only a bangladesh series(tests) one can say that and its probably at one's own risk. Whatever the result it is clear that NZ has a hstory in cricket and should never be taken lightly, even though their recent performances havent been too good. Anyway I hope for some good cricket tomorrow and hopefully an exciting end, even if it is a draw.

  • sandy_bangalore on November 7, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    I really hope that NZ goes on and wins this test. Its clear that the likes of Raina(who signed a multi million deal recently) and Gambhir are suspect in challenging conditions. And the lack of respect shown to NZ before the series was appalling to say the least. And hats of Kane williamson! What a debut...and the best part is that you didnt make a big show of it unlike some of our overhyped young batsmen.

  • Third_Gear on November 7, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    Good reply to indi gravity. for the first time n few days got the test no1 position n forgot their class. Ohh fade up with this no1 test team no1 test team repeatedly talikng........... by them . Its only matter of few days the indian team going to loose it,this position not for them,Bravo NZ well done n go ahead. As previously many indi astrologer fanz were showing simpathy to the nz team that its going to be a thrshing defeat its going to be another tour of embarrasment its going to be ............THIS IS AN ANSWER TO THEM

  • LakmalPhysics on November 7, 2010, 20:52 GMT

    Situation shows the world that India is just another ordinary team, not the best of cricket. Media who support the Indian cricket mere job is running a business by selling cricket among 1.15 billion people. So they have to make superstars and GODS to run their business in the market. But the truth is you can not find one superstar or world's best batsman over there. Lara, Sangakkara, Sachin, Mahela, Ponting, Shewag all are more or same equally talented superstars. Amla is also another rising star.

  • klobania on November 7, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    @kool_Indian u might either missed today's play or still day dreaming. as far as other names u have called for. we all know there is no one perfect player everyone has some flaws. its high time for u pple to realise that sachin is good cricketer but still fails to rise to occasion most of the time. no doubts his personal achievements r amazing but when u look in a broaden way u will realize india is hardly benefited from his personal landmarks as he still fails to win any world cup during his tenure of more than 2 decades

  • CandidIndian on November 7, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    Well India did play poor cricket and NZ played better but some of the guys who hate India just for the sake of it and wait for Indian team to make mistakes so that they can write comments with hatred which gives them virtual satisfaction are celebrating a bit too early.Cricket match is not over till its really over.NZ needs to get India all out and then makes those runs to win the match, all is not lost for India.Though as an Indian fan ii must say that Kiwis played better cricket to get close to Indian total and then leaving them tottering at 82 for 6 , but still lot of cricket is to be played in this match and series and result is yet to come .

  • Hugh.Houston.Holland on November 7, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    With all due respect to India - the caliber of their players is truly phenomenal - this has been an outstanding performance from the Kiwi's. Regardless of the result today, this test match should be taken and upheld as a lesson to all that there is no room for complacency in any sport.

  • on November 7, 2010, 20:33 GMT

    nice to see a good test match but it is disheartening to see the Indian fans dissing at their players like that...there is still alot of cricket to be played...chances are that harbhajan and vvs will get a partnership going and even if nz hav a small target the chances of them collapsing cannot be ruled out. these are the same players who got the team to no 1 patience...

  • anilkp on November 7, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    Very poor memory whoever wrote this: "The last time India were five wickets down for so few in a Test, they were considered the minnows of the game". You do not have to go back to 1952. Look at the Test in South Africa early last decade when Donald and Co annihilated them. On other note, Indians cannot comment that some other team does not have the ability to take 20 wickets. Just Look Inward.

  • revelationme on November 7, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    At the beginning of the series i seriously thought that new zeland were going to be blanked in the series....but woah!!! this is oretty good....although being an indian fan i do hope that tomorrow brings a swing in fortune!!!

  • dpkhbk on November 7, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    Why is no one talking about M.S Dhoni ? For all the talk about his captaincy His captaincy does not have any imagination. It is completely different in Test Cricket where you have to "earn" Test wickets . You can not just give the ball to a bowler and then hope luckily you will get a wicket (which is what often happens in ODI and T20). His batting is pathetic.Everybody now knows that he is weak against the shortball. He has never been able to do anything when the ball has done something. the less said about Harbhajan the better

  • on November 7, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    It certainly shows what a team is thinking... !! the Oz were much better than 0-2 and 1-2 result in favor of India and Sri Lanka respectively... what they lacked was focus.. or rather too much of focus on future fixtures, in this case the Ashes and the pride associated... !! proof was ample from the way the Oz played the last ODI today... ! On a similar scale... the BCCI, Gary Kirsten and the team itself is so fixed onto the tour of SAF that there is no focus and evident boredom towards this series... for eg... things were under control on day 1 till Sehwag showed signs of boredom, which was evident from the shot he played onto his stump... Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman also followed suit and there was a definite bullishness about Harbhajan's innings towards the end... add to it Zak not getting any reverse swing as though taking a day off... an overall dullness... what does all this point to ?? the kiwis can direct the series as per their liking... India are too busy with other things !

  • cricketisagame on November 7, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    SettingSun, I myself dont think Herbhajan is " the word's best spinner" Where did you get that from??

  • AhmadSaleem on November 7, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Chips were down and again only one man has survived the day showing his real character. No matter how big the names are of some other players but VVS has been the man for crisis for a while now. And every team needs a character like VVS, Hussey and Inzi because in the end they will win you matches not other big names. Btw Indian commentators really have big mouths, should learn to do commentary neutrally. :p

  • voyager on November 7, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    This is a classic case of over confidence! Cricinfo headline at the start of the match said "Mismatch Looms"

  • shovwar on November 7, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Way to go NZ!!! Test cricket can be so interesting...this NZ team got thrashed by Bangladesh in ODIs now look how they are playing TEST.?...SA may be a lil shaky in ODIs but in TEST they are the best side in the world....The rankings are just numbers that does not help much and the rankings wont help India when they visit SA next ....I would rather say that' Best of luck to India' now.

  • kool_Indian on November 7, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    @ Nick, SettingSun, etc - keep hoping the bad times for India and our team will keep winning. You can keep on whining - we will keep on Winning!!!

  • kool_Indian on November 7, 2010, 18:29 GMT

    @Alexk400 - I was waiting for your comment. People like you are ready to show up when our GOD fails, I am curious to know who is your favorite player and I can show umpteen times that batsman has failed. And regardless what you non-believers want to say - we believe in our Team India and we are there to support all our Indian players all the time - in both Good and Bad times. I hope India wins this game and shuts all the critics of cricinfo umpteenth time...come on India!!!

  • Narkovian on November 7, 2010, 18:29 GMT

    Don't you just love it? I really hope NZ win this. After all the "hype" about it being a non contest. Dad's Army versus The No - Hopers... great stuff.

  • Ganes.V on November 7, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    In the bowling department it is time we give some rest to Harbhajan. Ashwin is really better than him and so is Ohja. It is high time we gave rest to some senior players (not naming them now) and bring in fresh blood. Pujara and Vijay should be regulars! And we do have others also waiting in the side line just for that opportunity but unless some others go they dont have place int he team we can only have 11 playing!. I sincerely hope that the team does well to SAVE this test but given the hard work put in so far by the NZ team, it would not be unfair if I wish so. Anyway ALL THE BEST

  • kumarcoolbuddy on November 7, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    @SettingSun, very glad to see people like you when India is bad situation just for a moment of time. I donno which country you belong to but thanks for your comments. India never estimated NZ just because it lost to bangladesh. Sometimes we never expect what's going to be the match result. NZ is a good team and very nice to see them fight back. But please remember this is not the end. Please wait and see for more results. Please keep posting comments.

  • Ganes.V on November 7, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    The over rated top heavy batting line up of India struggle against some good pace bowling!Out of form Gambhir,a very highly rated Sehwag who may bat if every force on earth works in his favour or else he is out hitting straight to one of the fielders placed just for his catch,Dravid batting as if he forgot how to bat- not forgetting what he did in the first innigs-& Sachin also playing a careless shot just forgetting what he is made of- raina another rated player who actually does not know 2play good quick bowlers,&comes our captain who is one hell of a lucky guy- may be he is a good captain-but one has 2 remember that a captain is just as good as his team which is proven so far by the Indian batting in the second innings.I don't remember one instance when Dhoni has saved a test match for India- he is just a highly rated batsman on paper but does not have the real stuff which columnists& the media says he has! One player is always looked upon to SAVE test- VVS. Pls bring New faces..

  • on November 7, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    No matter whatever was said to the press, the mindset of the Indians were always of a "walk in the park" against the Kiwis. However, unlike Kangaroos, Kiwis have shown better mentality and opted to grind out the Indian bowlers (and batsmen). And that has paid dividend.

    Among the subcontinent teams, Sri Lanka has the better spinners backed up by quality fielding; and next comes Bangladesh. Spinners of both these teams bowl according to their field and the fielders make run scoring hard increasing the pressure on the batsmen. This is why, foreign teams struggle so much against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and to an extent against Bangladesh.

    Indian spinners (+pacers) however, most of the time, fail to keep up the pressures on the batsmen and runs keep coming. They seldom bowl to the field and most of the time try to produce the "magic delivery". This mindset isn't helped by poor fielding. So, whoever the oppositions are, if they decide to wait on Indian pitches, they are likely to succeed.

  • ajaydesai on November 7, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    Whatever may be result. Kiwis outplayed India in all departments. India's experienced and world class players just surrendered to Kiwis's excellent bowling. Harbhajan Singh should bowl rather than trying to become batsman. Good play Kiwis

  • on November 7, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    India are missing KUMBLE for sure. Bajji is as ordinary as ever... only was good when Kumble created pressure on other end. Poor spin department is opened up now. We do not have good fast bowlers also, apart from Zak. Only pressure can make NZ lose and not Indian bowling.

    Whether its 150 or 170 - NZ can definitely chase, if they play it easily. Good luck Vettori and finally Dhoni's luck seems to be running out!

  • theswami on November 7, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    GG has overstayed in Team India, one season of leading Delhi regularly is required if we are to see the old Gambhir. RD better retired ... he's already 38, I guess he's waiting for a test with back-to-back centuries to his name ..... M.Vijay, S.Badrinath & C.Pujara must be in the mix for a test spot .... Badri proved his capability in SA itself, while Raina looked out of place there ......

  • on November 7, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    Great one..espn staff writers rock !!

  • klobania on November 7, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    kiwis plz dont think abt ranking as none of the nations agree to india's no.1 ranking just go n thrash them we r behind u guyz just go kiwis go

  • on November 7, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Good Article, whoever wrote this!

  • ToTellUTheTruth on November 7, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Indian bowling needs a serious rethink. Can't believe they let a debutant and a returning-to-the-side boys score centuries. This should confirm how over rated Harbhajan is.

  • on November 7, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    Now the critics will be ready with their pen tomorrow to destroy the team once VVS is out!

  • on November 7, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Ha, after all that talk from Pundits that this Series will be an absolute whitewash and Cake-Walk for India, I'm Glad New Zealand turned up to play. This is INTERNATIONAL cricket media need to stop writing off teams so easily !!

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on November 7, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Funny old game is test cricket. Always fun to see the underdogs doing well and Chris Martin really has made the most of whatever ability he has got.

  • on November 7, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Hats off to Kiwis...win or loss...really doesn't matter. Fightback is all that people should see. There was a clear sense of arrogance from the Indian commentators today, who felt that getting the match to draw against the Indians would be a moral victory for NZ, as if to say that they were as pathetic as Zimbabwe. Well serves them right! The bangla tour was clearly an aberration, it has happened to the best of sides. All the best to both the teams and thanks for making the match, appearing-to-be-a-draw, lively. By the way, can any of the kiwi blokes tell me why Martin is called Phantom??? I even read this on cricinfo commentary where in you guys kept on referring to Chris as Phantom. Does he happen to be a fan of Phantom but his physique certainly doesn't say so or is it becoz he kind of has a ghostly appearance? Any help will be appreciated :-)

  • on November 7, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    New Zealand, don't get above yourselves. A 170 runs lead will see you struggling and crumbling eventually. Indian fans , this is where your true character is tested. Stick by your team and expect a victory.

  • SettingSun on November 7, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    Ahh yes, the world's number one team. A little bit of swing or bounce in bowling conditions, and they flounder pathetically. Meanwhile, 'the world's best spinner' Harbhajan Singh once again shows how unbelievably overrated he is. India are going to get absolutely destroyed in South Africa. And even as someone who doesn't really like South Africa, I hope it happens too.

  • Bytheway on November 7, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Time to say goodbye to Dravid and Gambhir, and welcome to Pujara and Vijay. Stop the rot. SA are next and making notes. Ashwin must be in the group. He has balls.

  • LakmalPhysics on November 7, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Congratulations Kiwi's. When a team is playing their best cricket, rankings can do nothing.

  • CricketAbhimani on November 7, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    India is now in a situation where it is down but not totally out. They must hold on till the end - a target of even 130 could be tricky. Not all is lost. The present team is capable of turning things around. Yes, even in the given circumstances! Laxman is still batting and Harbhajan has shown a lot of promise in his short stay. He was getting well behind the swinging deliveries from Martin. India somehow gets into these situations mainly with newcomers and tail-enders. I feel they relax and believe that they can get them out easily. The bowling loses bite, and by the time they re-focus, the batsmen are set! That's probably why most of the debutants and tail-enders do well against India. Players may also feel that with some effort, they've done enough to seal for the coming matches. There are exceptions like Tendulkar, Dravid, Dhoni, Kumble etc. but unfortunately, most of them think this way. Things are now turning around with Dhoni and one hopes for better days! Good luck!

  • kitten on November 7, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    When I heard Ravi Shastri after the first's day's play start bragging that India's batsmen can stop having nightmares for the rest of the NZ's tour as their attack was very ordinary and there was no way that they would get 20 wickets in the match, I was worried. No team should be taken lightly, and Ravi with his big mouth should have known better. India is now certainly having nightmares about how to save this match! We all saw Sachin and Laxman in the first innings, scratch around on the second morning and I think, scored about two runs in the first 30 minutes. They did improve a bit later. Gambir and Raina should be dropped immediately for the next test, and Murali Vijay(who is an aggressive player as we all saw in the matches he's played), and Pujara taken instead. David is not the same player he was, but then he is older. He dropped a catch and also ran out Sehwag, but he should be given another chance, given how many times he has rescued India over the years. Go VVS Go, save us.

  • first_slip on November 7, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    "Chris Martin" awesome performance, keep it up Mato & dont say bye to test cricket pls, i am sure you are going to get 7 or 8 tomorrow. good luck

  • on November 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    MS Dhoni's struggle with bat continues in all forms of cricket. The way he got out today is clearly indicating that, he not capable for being test cricket batsman. Sticking his natural style of aggressive bating is the only way for his survival. If no, he will have the same faith of S Ganguly. (Team performs, but the caption's bat is not)

  • on November 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    if india manage to lose this test or series, i think it will only confirm they are the worst number one ranked team in history. new zealand is little more than a minnow on the international circuit. this would follow a home series where india barely scraped past the worst australian team in recent memory. it may have been 2-0 result, but everybody knows that doesn't accurately portray the closeness of the series. the current indian team are a bunch of over-hyped flat-track bullies.

  • SnowSnake on November 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    If India were to lose this match then there are three players to blame for it: Gambhir, Dravid and Dhoni. Gambhir and Dhoni in particular are dead weight on the team. Dravid made some contribution, which coming back after a long break and batting first in first innings has some significance, but to consider it very significant is some stretch of imigination. Match is not over yet. This is the time for Bhajji to show some miracle for he seems to be batting better than most top order Indian batsmen. It is nice to see that fast bowlers are getting some support on otherwise classified flat wickets.

  • 68704 on November 7, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    I really think the swinging ball i something that most teams, however talented struggle against. Martin was good, but Gambhir clearly needs a break from the highest form of the game . His confidence is at an all time low and I seem him struggling in South Africa, clearly Vijay needs to be around , ready to take his place. I really feel Pujara too needs to be given another chance. In fact both of them should be in the playing eleven against South Africa. Raina is a very poor player of pace bowling and seems a better one day player than a player in the longer version of the game. India might save this game and even win it , for New Zealand may strugglie in the fourth innings on a pitch which is not quite a mine field yet, but they are not a great batting side in any case. A wake up call for India also showing that the number one side will have its fair share of challenges holding on to the title sridhar

  • 11Noobs on November 7, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    What a game!!! Full credit to Martin and New Zealand for their stunning comeback. Never in my cricketing life have a seen a similar score to 15/5. Laxman has to do it again, but this time he has a little more support.

  • Alexk400 on November 7, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Sachin tendulkar choked umpteenth time. Why do people think he is God?. He is god of choker!. I am indian , i hate this over hyped batsman.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Alexk400 on November 7, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Sachin tendulkar choked umpteenth time. Why do people think he is God?. He is god of choker!. I am indian , i hate this over hyped batsman.

  • 11Noobs on November 7, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    What a game!!! Full credit to Martin and New Zealand for their stunning comeback. Never in my cricketing life have a seen a similar score to 15/5. Laxman has to do it again, but this time he has a little more support.

  • 68704 on November 7, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    I really think the swinging ball i something that most teams, however talented struggle against. Martin was good, but Gambhir clearly needs a break from the highest form of the game . His confidence is at an all time low and I seem him struggling in South Africa, clearly Vijay needs to be around , ready to take his place. I really feel Pujara too needs to be given another chance. In fact both of them should be in the playing eleven against South Africa. Raina is a very poor player of pace bowling and seems a better one day player than a player in the longer version of the game. India might save this game and even win it , for New Zealand may strugglie in the fourth innings on a pitch which is not quite a mine field yet, but they are not a great batting side in any case. A wake up call for India also showing that the number one side will have its fair share of challenges holding on to the title sridhar

  • SnowSnake on November 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    If India were to lose this match then there are three players to blame for it: Gambhir, Dravid and Dhoni. Gambhir and Dhoni in particular are dead weight on the team. Dravid made some contribution, which coming back after a long break and batting first in first innings has some significance, but to consider it very significant is some stretch of imigination. Match is not over yet. This is the time for Bhajji to show some miracle for he seems to be batting better than most top order Indian batsmen. It is nice to see that fast bowlers are getting some support on otherwise classified flat wickets.

  • on November 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    if india manage to lose this test or series, i think it will only confirm they are the worst number one ranked team in history. new zealand is little more than a minnow on the international circuit. this would follow a home series where india barely scraped past the worst australian team in recent memory. it may have been 2-0 result, but everybody knows that doesn't accurately portray the closeness of the series. the current indian team are a bunch of over-hyped flat-track bullies.

  • on November 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    MS Dhoni's struggle with bat continues in all forms of cricket. The way he got out today is clearly indicating that, he not capable for being test cricket batsman. Sticking his natural style of aggressive bating is the only way for his survival. If no, he will have the same faith of S Ganguly. (Team performs, but the caption's bat is not)

  • first_slip on November 7, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    "Chris Martin" awesome performance, keep it up Mato & dont say bye to test cricket pls, i am sure you are going to get 7 or 8 tomorrow. good luck

  • kitten on November 7, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    When I heard Ravi Shastri after the first's day's play start bragging that India's batsmen can stop having nightmares for the rest of the NZ's tour as their attack was very ordinary and there was no way that they would get 20 wickets in the match, I was worried. No team should be taken lightly, and Ravi with his big mouth should have known better. India is now certainly having nightmares about how to save this match! We all saw Sachin and Laxman in the first innings, scratch around on the second morning and I think, scored about two runs in the first 30 minutes. They did improve a bit later. Gambir and Raina should be dropped immediately for the next test, and Murali Vijay(who is an aggressive player as we all saw in the matches he's played), and Pujara taken instead. David is not the same player he was, but then he is older. He dropped a catch and also ran out Sehwag, but he should be given another chance, given how many times he has rescued India over the years. Go VVS Go, save us.

  • CricketAbhimani on November 7, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    India is now in a situation where it is down but not totally out. They must hold on till the end - a target of even 130 could be tricky. Not all is lost. The present team is capable of turning things around. Yes, even in the given circumstances! Laxman is still batting and Harbhajan has shown a lot of promise in his short stay. He was getting well behind the swinging deliveries from Martin. India somehow gets into these situations mainly with newcomers and tail-enders. I feel they relax and believe that they can get them out easily. The bowling loses bite, and by the time they re-focus, the batsmen are set! That's probably why most of the debutants and tail-enders do well against India. Players may also feel that with some effort, they've done enough to seal for the coming matches. There are exceptions like Tendulkar, Dravid, Dhoni, Kumble etc. but unfortunately, most of them think this way. Things are now turning around with Dhoni and one hopes for better days! Good luck!

  • LakmalPhysics on November 7, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Congratulations Kiwi's. When a team is playing their best cricket, rankings can do nothing.