India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 5th day November 16, 2010

New Zealand's grit holds them in good stead

ESPNcricinfo staff
Their collective tenacity and professionalism has helped the visitors match up to the challenge of playing the world's No. 1 team
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They were of varying length and in different guises but most of the questions put to Daniel Vettori after the Hyderabad Test was drawn were born from a common sentiment: one of surprise at how a team ranked No. 8, having been humiliated in one-day internationals by Bangladesh, had managed to hold the No. 1 Test side to a 0-0 scoreline after two matches. They sought to determine whether Vettori was relieved at the results, whether New Zealand felt a sense of achievement, and whether they would spend the hour-long bus ride back to their hotel feeling satisfied and contented. The more pertinent question, though, is: how has this come to pass?

The bulk of the blame from the Indian camp, and the captain MS Dhoni is the primary finger-pointer, has been slathered on the unresponsive tracks prepared at Motera and in Hyderabad. A fair share of the criticism is justified since the pitches at both venues stayed unreasonably flat on all five days and made bowling as appealing as going to the dentist. A weaker reason is the injury to India's primary wicket-taker Zaheer Khan on the fourth day of the second Test. He would have been dangerous, but not that dangerous.

To not credit this New Zealand team as a whole for their collective tenacity, and the individuals comprising it for their strength in overcoming unique challenges, however, would be to ignore the fundamental reasons for their success across time and formats: their whole has always been greater than the sum of the parts.

A statistic bandied about in the lead-up to the tour was that the entire New Zealand squad had fewer Test runs than Sachin Tendulkar. At present, seven New Zealand batsmen have more runs in the series than him. And they have been made in adversity.

In Ahmedabad, New Zealand were in strife during their response to India's strong first-innings total when Jesse Ryder and Kane Williamson began their partnership. Ryder was returning to Test cricket after an injury layoff, Williamson was beginning his Test career. Failure at that juncture would have been a disappointment but it would also have been understood and forgiven. In Hyderabad, the heroes were a batsman who had just made a pair, another who had been dropped for the first Test, and a third who was new to the challenges of being a Test opener.

Ryder responded by batting with a calmness that had traces of Inzamam-ul-Haq to it. He is unflustered at the crease, and he has all the shots. And speed. Tim McIntosh proved he possessed the temperament to handle a struggle and play aggressively once on the other side of it. Martin Guptill spoke of the preparation he had put in to cope with Indian spin, and though his test wasn't of the highest standard, his efforts showed. Brendon McCullum used his attacking skills in his new role to wipe out New Zealand's deficit quicker than most would have expected, and as a result they were under extreme pressure for a shorter duration. And Williamson, whose genial celebration of his maiden century won hearts in this age of aggression, exhibited his forcefulness by striking Sreesanth for three fours in the first over of the final day. Those boundaries effectively signalled the end of India's victory aspirations, even before Zaheer trudged off the field.

"The top order came here under pressure from what had happened in Bangladesh but they've responded exceptionally well," Vettori said. "Particularly the two openers in this game, Brendon in his second Test match as an opener and Tim McIntosh coming off a pair, were outstanding and really set up the platform in both innings to allow us to score some pretty good totals. So the likes of Williamson and Ryder in the first Test, and McIntosh and McCullum in this one, have really allowed us to be at our best."

The batting apart, New Zealand were also expected to struggle to take 20 wickets. They managed it in Ahmedabad, and they've also bowled with rigorous discipline that disrupted the pace at which India are accustomed to scoring at home. Vettori didn't grumble about the pitches either, despite bowling a total of 142.3 overs, the most in the series. He's toiled manfully, like a captain should, bowling until his arm is sore and has 11 wickets, again the most in the series, to show for his efforts. He granted himself the luxury of a rest when India had a jolly hit during the final session of play in Hyderabad, but has otherwise been the crux of New Zealand's campaign.

New Zealand haven't complained about pitches and the lack of UDRS, or made too much about adjusting to Indian conditions. They've played the series in wonderful spirit - heartily applauding Harbhajan's game-changing innings and not responding to Sreesanth's prickly behaviour

New Zealand's pace attack - led by Chris Martin and Tim Southee - has not attempted to overachieve on these deadest of pitches. They've bowled to well-set fields designed to save the single and worn India's batsmen down. An inspired spell from Martin aside, during which India crumbled to 15 for 5 at Motera, they were unlikely to cut through the most-celebrated batting line-up in the world. Instead, they relied on a relentless accuracy and it has brought them steady results. The key to New Zealand's bowling success, however, has been their fielding and that is one discipline no one expected them to struggle in. The flying Kiwis have taken sharp catches at slip and prevented countless boundaries with precise anticipation, agile movement and a well-timed dive in the in-field. McCullum provides the energy and is at the heart of the fielding effort. On his watch, few shots get past cover.

The underpinning factor that has made all this achievable, however, has been their mindset and the utter professionalism with which they prepare and play. They haven't complained about pitches and the lack of UDRS, or made too much about adjusting to Indian conditions. They've played the series in wonderful spirit - heartily applauding Harbhajan's game-changing innings and not responding to Sreesanth's prickly behaviour. Their approach has been one of understated grit.

New Zealand have now held India to draws in their last four Tests. In two of them, India had to do the surviving. Vettori's team will still be expected to lose in Nagpur, though. If they don't, it will be a surprise again. That is the lot of this hard-working team that has punched above its weight.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 18, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    the kiwis deserve to win the series more than india deserve to lose it

  • Proteas123 on November 18, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Well done NZ. India were far too overconfident in writing off NZ and have been lucky not to have paid for it with a loss. Hope NZ can pull a upset in the third test.

  • gnat9 on November 18, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    As long as the Indian curators /BCCI keep building flat , batting friendly pitches, it will remain pointless to play any tests in India. A lot has been said about the bad quality of the Indian pace attack. Why is it not realized that the reason for this is because of the dead-as-a-doornail pitches our pacers are faced with. Test cricket is meaningful only on surfaces where it is possible for a side to take twenty wickets in five days, and that means having fast and bouncy pitches which can aid fast bowlers. We can only hope that our chaps will get their pace bowling in order before the South Africa tour. We will get murdered otherwise.

  • rsurya on November 18, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    A team's fast bowler should threaten the batsman atleast for a few overs but with sreesanth and ishanth, batsman gets settled before the first ball. we have a basket of worst bowlers and picking the most worst out of it. zaheer being an exception. Now baaji is considered as all-rounder then what about our great jadeja... what will he do... dhoni would think of playing 2 allrounders in the team. "Any way winning is important" Dhoni.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 18, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    When India draws a match even after dominating the game it is like a defeat when Pakistan draws a match by skin of their teeth their captain thinks it is victory. That shows what a depth the pakistan cricket has fallen to ! At the same time it shows India is expecting so much more of its cricketers and is not ready to settle for anything but victory. Truly amazing!!

  • sammykent on November 18, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    It is great to see New Zealand bounce back from defeat in Bangladesh. Apart from their top order woes it is also pretty obvious that Bangladesh have improved in the last few years and will likely prove a handful for more than New Zealand. This is an exceptionally well balanced side but maybe a tad short of bowling. NZ has always been a team dominated by allrounders and Ryder opening the batting as well as playing a major role in the bowling is evidence of this. What it does do though is provide a break for the frontline bowlers and vary the type of lines and deliveries the batsmen are facing. I look forward to this team gelling well and starting to perform consistently to their abilities.

  • smudgeon on November 18, 2010, 2:23 GMT

    I think the main thing holding these teams to a draw is their bowling - both teams are coming up a bit short here, and the pitches have obviously not been helpful either. However, I think the final match - if there's a sporting declaration or two involved - should produce a great contest. Both teams have a lot to prove (India that they deserve to be #1; NZ that they are a competitive side), and I really look forward to seeing what happens in Nagpur. And to those who are discrediting Bangladesh's victory over NZ: the Bangladeshi side have talent in spades and play in the right spirit (not unlike NZ, actually), and they're right on the cusp of breaking through...finally. The victory over NZ would have done wonders for their self belief (and they weren't easy wins, either), and I think in the next few years they will really start to string the performances together and prove they deserve to be playing in the top tier of cricket.

  • on November 17, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    NZ has always been a thorn in India's side ...

  • dhoni_hater on November 17, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    @to Taranis hello martin is not such excitic..And for that reason india didnt lost 5 early wickets because the main drawback at that time was sehwag run out that changed the course and it will let to take martin 5 wickets.. If sehwag there means sehwag take charge on them and he even afraid to bowl overs.. Then there wont be 5 wickets.. Main drawback sehwag run out.. It will cause all evil.. He is the only batsmen collapse the plan of the opponent.. and make the bowler in tied situation.. Dont forget martin has been hammered by sehwag for 11boundaries in first test,5 boundaries in 2nd test.. He just faced martin for short time.. But hammer lot.. So Dont get sehwag down and say him ordinary or poor...

  • awaisn on November 17, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    lifeless wicket was prepared for sachin for his 50th hundred. sorry it was McCullum who made double. Performance in crunch time make u great player not the records on lifeless wickets.

  • on November 18, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    the kiwis deserve to win the series more than india deserve to lose it

  • Proteas123 on November 18, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Well done NZ. India were far too overconfident in writing off NZ and have been lucky not to have paid for it with a loss. Hope NZ can pull a upset in the third test.

  • gnat9 on November 18, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    As long as the Indian curators /BCCI keep building flat , batting friendly pitches, it will remain pointless to play any tests in India. A lot has been said about the bad quality of the Indian pace attack. Why is it not realized that the reason for this is because of the dead-as-a-doornail pitches our pacers are faced with. Test cricket is meaningful only on surfaces where it is possible for a side to take twenty wickets in five days, and that means having fast and bouncy pitches which can aid fast bowlers. We can only hope that our chaps will get their pace bowling in order before the South Africa tour. We will get murdered otherwise.

  • rsurya on November 18, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    A team's fast bowler should threaten the batsman atleast for a few overs but with sreesanth and ishanth, batsman gets settled before the first ball. we have a basket of worst bowlers and picking the most worst out of it. zaheer being an exception. Now baaji is considered as all-rounder then what about our great jadeja... what will he do... dhoni would think of playing 2 allrounders in the team. "Any way winning is important" Dhoni.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 18, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    When India draws a match even after dominating the game it is like a defeat when Pakistan draws a match by skin of their teeth their captain thinks it is victory. That shows what a depth the pakistan cricket has fallen to ! At the same time it shows India is expecting so much more of its cricketers and is not ready to settle for anything but victory. Truly amazing!!

  • sammykent on November 18, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    It is great to see New Zealand bounce back from defeat in Bangladesh. Apart from their top order woes it is also pretty obvious that Bangladesh have improved in the last few years and will likely prove a handful for more than New Zealand. This is an exceptionally well balanced side but maybe a tad short of bowling. NZ has always been a team dominated by allrounders and Ryder opening the batting as well as playing a major role in the bowling is evidence of this. What it does do though is provide a break for the frontline bowlers and vary the type of lines and deliveries the batsmen are facing. I look forward to this team gelling well and starting to perform consistently to their abilities.

  • smudgeon on November 18, 2010, 2:23 GMT

    I think the main thing holding these teams to a draw is their bowling - both teams are coming up a bit short here, and the pitches have obviously not been helpful either. However, I think the final match - if there's a sporting declaration or two involved - should produce a great contest. Both teams have a lot to prove (India that they deserve to be #1; NZ that they are a competitive side), and I really look forward to seeing what happens in Nagpur. And to those who are discrediting Bangladesh's victory over NZ: the Bangladeshi side have talent in spades and play in the right spirit (not unlike NZ, actually), and they're right on the cusp of breaking through...finally. The victory over NZ would have done wonders for their self belief (and they weren't easy wins, either), and I think in the next few years they will really start to string the performances together and prove they deserve to be playing in the top tier of cricket.

  • on November 17, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    NZ has always been a thorn in India's side ...

  • dhoni_hater on November 17, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    @to Taranis hello martin is not such excitic..And for that reason india didnt lost 5 early wickets because the main drawback at that time was sehwag run out that changed the course and it will let to take martin 5 wickets.. If sehwag there means sehwag take charge on them and he even afraid to bowl overs.. Then there wont be 5 wickets.. Main drawback sehwag run out.. It will cause all evil.. He is the only batsmen collapse the plan of the opponent.. and make the bowler in tied situation.. Dont forget martin has been hammered by sehwag for 11boundaries in first test,5 boundaries in 2nd test.. He just faced martin for short time.. But hammer lot.. So Dont get sehwag down and say him ordinary or poor...

  • awaisn on November 17, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    lifeless wicket was prepared for sachin for his 50th hundred. sorry it was McCullum who made double. Performance in crunch time make u great player not the records on lifeless wickets.

  • Bang_La on November 17, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    @Vice-Captain, it seems you are struggling for an answer about how NZ team lost to BD by 4-0. Let me help you before your brain valves are burnt out. NZ lost to Bangladesh in ODI format and BD played better than NZ rookies. You may now do two things. One, thank your Gods that it was not India visiting, Second, try to replace your brain valves with something of standard.

  • mail2shiv on November 17, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    The best tribute that could be given to the Kiwis and which they fully deserve is that Neo Cricket should now change the "Mission Domination" slogan which they have used to market this series on their channel. It should be changed in the build-up to and during the third Test.

  • Htc-Baseball on November 17, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    For my fellow indian mates,there is absolutly no need to argue with any nerds,the rankings are not a lottery draw numbers.Its up 4 the taking if any team deserves it.Prsently Its india who deserve tat..Presently thers s not a single team with a demolishing bowling unit with them..Its a period of survival of the fittest ..

  • shadeen on November 17, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    @ harsh vardhan 2002....ok since mr dhoni is such a brave heart why dnt just take da UDRS....why is it that every other established captain wants a UDRS nd india doesnt......sanga gives excuse??? who said in t20 WC that "we failed bcoz our players are nt used 2 fast tracks" who blamed the pitch for drawing in this test match..........yes mr dhoni did

  • Taranis on November 17, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    Martin rocked the Indian 'TOP' order and the figures read 15/5. This shows Indian batting against quality bowling. Apart from Laxman ... the other X are all pathetic. The complete Indian Cricket is more of a stupid Buidup rather than serious business.

  • Anandp2208 on November 17, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Yet another boring draw.This is not doing any good to test cricket.Only tests played in india ends in draw very often.This shows their character.Test matches should be played on sporting wickets.Even current poor Australia team will never opt to play test matches for draw & we will see that in coming Ashes too.Australia were the real no. 1.India with this mindset can never boastof their no.1 ranking.

  • KiwiRocker- on November 17, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    I have been saying that for a while that Indian team is full of impostors and chokers who lack the talent and skill.India is not worthy of being in top three teams of world that are England, SA, and Australia. A full strength Indian team has taken hammering twice by a so called number eighth team NZ. Where is Gary Kirsten?He is filling his pockets dreaming about world cup while India is being cleaned up in their own backyard.India does not have a single quality bowler. Zahree khan is above average outside India and he only gets wickets in India because uncle Pawar in ICC allows use of special ball in India and arrogant BCCI does not allow usage of UDRS.Harbhjan AKA chukker is a very average bowler.He needs to start walking the talk otherwise someone like Afridi will hit him 5 sixes in an over again..However the real problem in current Indian team is lack of match winners apart from Sehwag who is a hit and click. Tendulkar AKA imposter fails again..What a surprise! Greedy man continues.

  • nav84 on November 17, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    I m so amused to c hw evry1 just comes cribbin abt india's no1 rank whenevr dey under perform. well dis is wot hpnd in SL series earlier dis yr aftr d frst 2 tests n india retorted wid a win in 3rd test n thus drawin d series. Same is gonna happen again n india will maintain it record o nt losin a test series. Hwevr my question over here is if india is nt no1 den hu is? SL whom we thrashed in india n managed to draw in SL..Aussies against whom we hv won 5 out last 10 matches n lost only 2(one o dem is famous sydney test)..SA who lost to Aussies in deir home(while we killed dem) n failed to get more den 3 pakistani wickets in d fourth innings in 120 overs (n evry1 is cryin abt indian bowlin) or Eng whom we beat in india as well as in Eng..Problem is thinkin o no1 evry one thinks o steve waugh's Aus or clive lloyd's WI. India is nt dat good, no one is. Bt india has still performed better den rest over d last couple o yrs n hence d no1 rank.

  • on November 17, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    am really glad NZ have finally put martin guptill at no. 3. when i first watched him bat i couldn't believe how classy he looked.. and then the selectors ruined it completely by making him open the batting. hope he stays at no. 3 and gets many more runs... great series so far, but i don't think we need to draw too many conclusions from this as far as the SA series is concerned. the less said about these wickets the better.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on November 17, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    IF SL IS SUCH A GREAT TEAM THEN WHY THE HELL THEY CANNOT WIN A SINGLE TEST MATCH IN AUSTRALIA INDIA SOUTH AFRICA WHY MURALI WAS TRASHED TO PIECES IN AUS AND CANNOT WIN ONE JUST ONE TEST MATCH.SANGA ALWAYS CRIES ABOUT UDRS AND DOES NOT HAVE THE GUTS TO FACE THE DEFEAT LIKE A MAN WHEN THEY WERE THRASHED 2-0 IN TEST MATCH SERIES LAST YEAR IN INDIA SUCH A POOR SL CRY BABY CAPTAIN

  • abhiyog on November 17, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    On these kind of pitches any team can come and go back with a drawn test series no point in blaming the indian bowling as they tried very hard on these national highways , if the curators dont produce the kind pitches similar to the ones against sa in kanpur in 2008 or the one against aus in mumbai in 2004 we will see a lot of draws ,as far as sl fans questionong india,s no 1 status save the match against wi first before commenting

  • shadeen on November 17, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    @vicecaptain:and i really dont understand how india has bcome the world no 1 in tests.........they cant even take 20 wickets in their home turf!!! @sachinvvs fan : how can u call sanga a cry baby? i thought that title was preserved for sreesanth sob sob......

  • strokedthroughthecovers on November 17, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    What's this rubbish about NZ "playing above themselves"? Their batsmen have as much talent as anyone. NZ's bowlers arent as good - but great bowlers are harder to find. The team that has the best bowlers will always be the most formidable team in the world. SA are number 1 in this regard.

  • sachin_vvsfan on November 17, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    @ NZSriLankan "Bragging rights really"? FYI we did win the recent VB ODI series in AUS much convincingly than your 2-1 series win in AUS and that too agianst weaker AUS side. The fact is no body holds bragging rights @Cazza Hill You could still comment here as NZ are still written off(as usual) in this article.About NZ bowling attack yes they have better bowlers .I would say even BD has better bowling attack than india. But you have to give some credit to McCullum who denied the victory for us.

  • tough_cool on November 17, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    The reason why NZ is sitting on two draws while OZ were at 0-2 after their two tests is that NZ has always played for draws in India. If you do not trust me look back for IND-NZ series in India from the Azhar's days, the results were always 1-0 in favor of India never 3-0, or even 2-0. while series results against AUS since 1996 have looked like this: 1-0(only one test played),2-1,2-1,1-2,2-0,2-0. Aussies always play to win, just look at how they played in II innings of recent Mohali test, they were 87-0 in about 18 overs. That was how they were trying to set up the match for their victory. Now did NZ play like that, did they try to win, yes they did that in Ahmedabad -- partly due to sehwag's runout -- but that was still too late in the day. Indians when challenged in India come back fighting hard -- just what the Aussies do -- but if a team is happy playing out a draw then Indians are ill-equipped to force the result and that is why we are having two draws here.

  • shadeen on November 17, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    this is the true india........i dnt know why they always get so attention. The bowling is below par....even the bangladeshi bowlers restricted the NZ team below 200, 3 times last month(twice while defending). besides z.khan no one seems 2 b of int standard. da only reason that india has been escaping with victories is bcoz of their world class batting......but again the youngsters dnt generate to much hope....there has been a lot of fuss abt da ind vs aus series..bt can anyone tell me if there was no laxman then wht wud hav happened? before this series i saw in a indian sports channel calling this da SERIES OF DOMINATION...pathetic.lol....believe me this upcoming WC india r out in da first round again..nd guess wholl they lose 2 first? BANGLADESH !!!!!!!! ITS DEJAVU

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

    @Geethike Dinith De Silva "Jesus man at least keep us Sri Lankans away in a series that doesn't involve us" May i request you to do the same. Just look at the other IND articles where PAK and SL fans keep haunting us for being #1. I never really cared about this rankings as we all know that the parity between the top 4-5 teams is less. But you keep haunting us as if we have forcibly taken away your rankings.I remember your own comments about india being num1 is joke(if that is a joke then SL being num 2 is also a joke). It is sangakkara and you fans who keep questioning the rankings and iginite the war. About the world cup pattern may be a 2003 or 1999 pattern will be repeated. @_NEUTRAL_Fan_ Iam not a fan of dhoni either but i have never seen him abusing anyone (true he whings about pitches). I can point you to many instances about sangakkaras onfield behaviour(i still remember how he used vulgar language to abuse Kaif in SL ODI). It is after securing his IPL contract he calmed down

  • Taranis on November 17, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    Newzealand may not be the BEST team at the moment, but they sure are very good competetors, which Cricket is all about. India is able to be on the so called TOP position 'cause it plays too many home games. Any team can win their home games. And they call aborad tours as "successfull" if it is a draw. No team can be termed as NO. 1, if it is not capable of beating the Aussies in Australia. And India is far from being No. 1.

  • kiranmn on November 17, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    I just cannot believe we have so many flat tracks in India.The whole fun of watching test cricket is lost because of these tracks.Its as good as playing in some school playgrounds where the only option is to keep on batting for ages

  • joseyesu on November 17, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    Come on, India on top is because of aussies fall. Indian team remains the same for the last 5 years only 1 or 2 changes. Also accept that newzealand is a good team. Our bowling is weak, once we depend heavily on Harbajan but now harbajan itself is not able to take wickets. Pitch reporters are partly to blame as only lively pitches can bring the results.

  • on November 17, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    nz will have the upper hand in the 3rd test as zaheer is not playing...ishant is average sreesanth can only trouble the tale and bhaji is too busy in making runs.ross taylor is still short of runs and can do his bit in the 3rd test.Young williamson can have much more runs under his belly...........go nz go....

  • diri on November 17, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    3-0 to SA

  • on November 17, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    We all know that the bowling attack of India is below par, and it can be worse if they play outside. We have 2nd rung bowlers and till then I cant accept myself that we are the best team. MSD also looks a little clueless in the longer version of the game, he is so much better in T20s and 1 days.

    Also perhaps because he hardly contributes or he is overshadowed by the likes of veeru, sach and VVS.

    Having said that Black Caps have always had the potential to spring a surprise, a wonderfully genial side led by one of the best ambassadors of the game- Vettori.

    Vettori to me is the equivalent of Kumble for NZ, in demeanor and relevance.

  • VipulPatki on November 17, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    I can't, from any angle, see how Indian team is no.1 in the rankings. Twice Harbhajan had to come to rescue and I still don't see him as a reliable batsman. Bowling is completely toothless. Sreesanth continues to ride on his luck to blight the team. 0-2 scorecard looks likely at the end of series in SA.

  • googletalk on November 17, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    _NEUTRAL_Fan_, you are spot on mate [regarding Dhoni-Sanga issue]. I also need to add that few days back Dhoni unfairly blamed ICC umpires that they should improve their performances, instead of applying UDRS.This is a bit rich coming from Mr. Dhoni who always appeal even those are far from close call. If Mr. Dhoni stops appeling every now and then, umpiring job would be much easier. How many times umpires made mistake at last test; and how many times Dhoni appeals falsely? Isnt umpires make mistake because players provoke them for making such?

    VVS Laxman is arguably the nicest guy one can expect without being a attention seeker. A true legend. he said this week that UDRS should be applied. Mr. Dhoni should stop blaming umpires and should accept UDRS which is backed by the most of the cricketing figures.

  • on November 17, 2010, 3:05 GMT

    Googletalk, how much better could you sum it up? Thanks.And I predict the Bangladesh India pattern would continue to the next world cup, and of course that combined with the Sri Lanka- India world cup knockout match pattern, the main hosts may be in for another heart break :)

  • on November 17, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    I dare say there is a bit of Bondy about Timaru's favourite son Hamish Bennett, it's a shame we won't get to see him for the third test. I hope Williamson's technique and mindset isn't poisoned by T20. NZ sports teams have always been hard working rather than flashy, and we rarely get the great individuals. But when we play to our strengths, we can achieve. Great effort so far, let's win this third test boys!!

  • Rukus_NZ on November 17, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    People need to reliase that even though NZ lost to BANG 4-0, a couple of the games could have gone either way, and there were no practice matches, I am not trying to make excuses but it sounds like people are saying NZ are dead last and India are no1 and thats how it should be. CRICKET isnt like that at all, infact I feel cricket rankings are some of the most dubious in all of sports. Every pitch is far different, more so that any other sport I feel. It seems only a couple weeks ago people were saying NZ, WI etc should not be playing tests.... Sometimes I think we need more than 5 countries playing each other over and over and have a good base of atleast 10 countries. Speaking of sporting declaration, I remember int he first game India didnt give NZ a chance to score the win, and neither did we in the second match, I think it makes it an even contest and the third match will be the most important for skill, scores, and ofcourse, the final outcome.. cant wait for the ODI's !!!!!!!!!!!

  • KBCA on November 17, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    Ojha looks the more dangerous of the 2 indian spinners imo

  • googletalk on November 17, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Many followers outside Bangladesh actually had written off NZ after their dismal result against them [for following International fixture]. But in Bangladesh [media, fan or players] there is no way the notion of bragging right of supremacy [of Bangladesh] over NZ ever exists [and quite correctly so], instead NZ always remains as a better team [and Vettori is much respected by BD players and local journos. Shakib is a huge admirer of vettori]. Bangladesh deserved more credits for their results than they had received. At the same time, it was wrong slating NZ just after one ODI series. Its pleasing to see that NZ is doing well, it surely will bring back some confidence and should help performing in forthcoming world cup. Like many Bangladeshi, I will be cheering up for NZ's success.

  • on November 17, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Guptil is 24, Taylor 26, Williamson 20, Ryder 26, Mc Cullam 29. NZ lost a hardened lineup overnight a couple of seasons ago and missed the opportunity to blood new players properly, much like Australia in the 80's. The question is that now these 5 gifted individuals seem to be finding their feet, is this the start of a golden period for the Kiwis?

  • Markus971 on November 17, 2010, 1:15 GMT

    'C'mon' India, You are at the Top of the Tree now! ..Where is the aggresive batting in the Middle Order?!-- 'C'mon' New Zealand, O.K you lost a no. of overs, maybe 50 overs from the Games length, ...But where is the sporting declaration!! -- Why aren't these 2 Teams publicly flogged! Like the Aussies would have been for the slow scoring.etc.-- 'c'mon' "think of the spectators", They would say!

  • on November 17, 2010, 1:06 GMT

    the other real number one team i watched was the 'hated' Aussies... i wonder what would they do to a team who lost 4-0 to Bangladesh just a week/or 2 ago. tear'em apart? i remember one broken Pakistan visit australia. no match went for the fourth day.

    but i got my next batsman to follow for a decade... kane W :)

  • googletalk on November 17, 2010, 1:05 GMT

    Vice-Captain, you said "I just don't get how this team lost 4 in a row to Bangladesh."

    And Bangladesh did it without service from their best ever pace bowler and regular captain [Mashrafe] and arguably their best batsman ever and inform too [Tamim who has been Wisden's cricketers of the year]. How does this sound? If its not enough, Bangladesh actually sent India back home twice in world cup [I mean matches which decided whether India went following round]. Losing to Bangladesh never made NZ a bad team, they always were decent and formidible. Its actually a proof of Bangladeshi's fighting spirit and improvement in some areas. You lot should recognize this rather sooner.

  • CustomKid on November 17, 2010, 1:00 GMT

    Great job kiwi's - this is coming from your Anzac brother across the ditch. You've fought very well and were even in a winning position in the first test.

    You've done better than my team who limped home with a 0-2 result even though they should have toasted India in Mohalie. I still cant work that one out.

    Regardless congrats and keep up the improving performances. A healthy comp at test level is what the game needs and at this point in time there is no real standout which is a good thing.

  • bc1992 on November 17, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    Some interesting parallels here with the NZ tour of Australia in late 2001. At that stage Australia were the undisputed no 1 team in the world, NZ went into that series with indifferent form to say the least - in the most recent home season ODIs they had lost to Zimbabwe 2-1, Sri Lanka 4-1 and only just got up 3-2 over Pakistan due to an Astle special. Needless to say the Aussie hacks were out in force for the tour saying that NZ were the worst team ever to tour, would not win a game etc etc. Had it not been for Glenn McGrath bowling two metres wide of the stumps for his last couple of overs in the first test at Brisbane, and several umpiring decisions in the final test at Perth where the UDRS would have come in very handy, NZ would have won that test series 2-0. In the end the 0-0 draw was the first time Australia had failed to win a test match at home in a series for something like a decade. The series also unearthed a star of the future in Shane Bond. Is history repeating itself?

  • NZLankan on November 17, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    @Vice-Captain: when your team wins a T/20 and one day series in Oz, you too could indulge in some "inflates the importance of his teams wins"...till then Sanga has all the bragging rights - windies tour so far notwithstanding!

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on November 16, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    @Vice-Captain. I don't know which Sanga you are talking about. I recall him saying that his team still had concerns despite coming from behind to beat Aus in that ODI. Doesn't sound like some1 who "inflates his team's victories" to me. Dhoni too has found excuses about the pitch in this match and continues to refuse the UDRS...sounds like that could be categorised as whining, depends on how you view it. In short I'm a much bigger fan of Sanga than I am of Dhoni. He's much better spoken and comes across as more professional.

  • smudgeon on November 16, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    NZ have done very well, I always admire how they manage to punch well above their weight. A team's worth is about more than rankings, and NZ is proof of that - and the spirit in which they play should put some of the "better" teams to shame. Seeing the way McCullum, Williamson, Ryder, and McIntosh played, the future looks rosy for NZ - develop some of those younger bowlers a bit more and they'll be a very competitive side. Good luck in Nagpur, guys!

  • on November 16, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    Agreed India's bowling unit isn't that great, but c'mon guys give them some hope in the pitches! Agreed Harbhajan is a decent tail ender but 2 centuries in 2 tests?! Are you kidding me? Isn't that a proof enough of what wickets the matches have been played on? Add to that NZ's justifiably negative approach of stifling Indian batsmen and Dhoni's justifiably( due to lack of response from pitch and limited bowling resource) approach of not being attacking enough and you get a perfect recipe for draw. You need some juice in the wicket for Indian bowlers to perform. Remember when India toured NZ less than 2 years ago. They almost pulled off 2-0 series win where they had something to bowl at. This remains largely the same unit under different conditions. Ahemdabad has always been a 'draw' venue. Hyderabad was a black box. Nagpur has produced some results in past tests. Hopefully next one is a result wicket too.

  • on November 16, 2010, 22:29 GMT

    I told it back when the "Expect the Expected" came along, and I repeat it again - " Precisely when you think you are bigger than the game and have it all covered - the game comes back to bite you" No matter who you are playing against - when you let down your guard thinking the opposition would crumble to defeat, you only end up providing them that inspiration to conjure that spirit to punch above your weight (not to mention the freedom which tells them they have nothing to lose) Its a game of 11 people and one Zaheer Khan or one Sachin Tendulkar can't always turn it on their individual brilliance. Credit to NZ and India have their task cut out ... That said, this chastening should sharpen their focus for SA

  • Vice-Captain on November 16, 2010, 22:28 GMT

    Sanga is a definite cry baby. Inflates the importance of his teams wins and produces the lamest of excuses in defeats. Dhoni, Pointing, Graeme Smith are far more balanced in their assessments of wins and losses.

  • Vice-Captain on November 16, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    I just don't get how this team lost 4 in a row to Bangladesh.

  • on November 16, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    I'm annoyed that they have closed comments on that article "expect the expected". I would lose to comment on that now asking where the 3-0 winning margin is for India now. India undoubtedly have one of the best, if not the best, batting line ups in the world but they have a very poor bowling attack with only one world class bowler, being Zaheer. I would say the New Zealand bowling attack is a better attack.

  • on November 16, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    It's a real credit to our boys. On paper, it may have been considered a mismatch before the series, especially with the prior Bangladesh results. But the Blackcaps have a funny habit of playing well above themselves at times; maybe not always, but at times they can compete with the world's best. For the first 2 tests, it has been a true team effort, and echoing comments by others, the team management and preparation is of the highest calibre and professionalism. The Kiwis are making the very utmost with what they have and I for one applaud each and every one of them very loudly from the sideline. Go the Backcaps!

  • safwan_Umair on November 16, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    worlds number one team on flat tracks .... if i may add! India will never be number one unless they win series abroad in SA, Aus, SL etc etc..... harbhajan scoring 2 hundreds on a trot speaks all for the pan-cake flat tracks which the Indians, Lankans and Pakistanis produce. That is the sole reason batsmen from our region become sitting ducks ven the pitches r lively.

  • on November 16, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    I think NZ have done really well in this series. The major disappointment for India have been their bowlers. NZ batsmen have hit centuries in almost all innings. There needs to be at least one batting collapse for a result and that hasn't happened. NZ batsmen have really applied themselves and they now have, what, 4 different centurions already? This is clearly a bowling failure from India's perspective. Why is Ojha playing and not Ishant? We can't expect Zaheer to do all the work. Sreesanth misfires a lot. Harbhajan has lost his charm this series. Only Zaheer seemed capable of moving the ball.

  • Freddy-boy on November 16, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    As an Aus I agree wholeheartedly (which is the operative word here). Godd on yer fellas. Although I think India's attack is not much chope apart from Khan (sometimes) and the provocative run machine off spinner (most times - against Aus anyway)

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on November 16, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    @sachin_vvs fan. Why don't you say cry baby Sanga and cry baby DHONI,they are no different really. Sanga is actually a better speaker. I don't know what Sanga did to you, apparently people don't like outspoken and intelligent cricketers who love to express their opinions. More of them please. Anyway...NZ prove why they are always admired, they are real fighters and play in great spirit.

  • on November 16, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    Sachin_VVS, Jesus man at least keep us Sri Lankans away in a series that doesn't involve us. I am not going to say anything against India or for New Zealand, let the performances prove so everyone knows whose number one :). Btw didn't New Zealand lose to Bangladesh 4-0 in an ODI series recently ? I rest my case.

  • on November 16, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    I am very proud of our team. For years the top order has been scolded and underperformed - we have the very beginnings of a top 6 that hopefully will stay selected and learn to be consistent. Mccullum as a test opener? What a revelation and as a kiwi it is very exciting to see that he can be a sehwag or a gayle. Williamson is fanstastic! Finally a youngster with top billing who is performing. And one last thing, Vettori is taking wickets. All very exciting - in response to Dhoni - both teams are playing on these dead pitches mate, if you were number one then you should be smashing us on any turf. Go the black caps!

  • nlambda on November 16, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    Man we are going to get beaten 0-2 or 0-3 by SA :-(

  • Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on November 16, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    I was one of the first of the many Indians who wrote off the Kiwis before the series started. I must say, Kiwis put me to shame and made me eat my words. Hats off to them, coming from the land of The Great Sir Richard Hadlee. Congratulations on their stupendous individual as well as collective efforts.

    Coming to Indians, the less said about them the better. Once again my apologies to all the New Zealanders including their players for writing them off. They have been the epitome of perseverance and collective effort. Three cheers to the Kiwis. I wouldn't be heart broken if they beat India in the final test. They put up a thoroughly world class display so far and deserve to take the series as much as the Indians. I hope the series decider will have a result.

  • sachin_vvsfan on November 16, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    " the utter professionalism with which they prepare and play" Perfect sentence to describe NZ and vettori who is a true gentleman unlike the cry baby sangakkara. "Vettori's team will still be expected to lose in Nagpur" Why is that so? Zaheer is already out and I back NZ for Nagpur test and expect vettori to come hard at us and wont be surprised if NZ wins the series .BCC,I you have to give one more 'final' warning to Sreesanth. He will never learn despite being in the company of sachin, vvs dravid.

  • on November 16, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    the kiwis have a habit of surprising their oppenents ever since Vettori has taken over he has never once let them believe they are underdogs rather they have fought bravely against all opposition and here again not one individual but the whole team has fought bravely against the "number one " team in the world and although it is too early too say but we should expect a minor miracle of kiwis beating india u never know cause indian bowling without zaheer looks rather indifferent with harbhajan proving more usefull with the bat then with the ball. the kiwis wouldn't be too easy to beat in the third test

  • Gapsted on November 16, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    The Australian team could learn a lot from this New Zealand Team!

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  • Gapsted on November 16, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    The Australian team could learn a lot from this New Zealand Team!

  • on November 16, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    the kiwis have a habit of surprising their oppenents ever since Vettori has taken over he has never once let them believe they are underdogs rather they have fought bravely against all opposition and here again not one individual but the whole team has fought bravely against the "number one " team in the world and although it is too early too say but we should expect a minor miracle of kiwis beating india u never know cause indian bowling without zaheer looks rather indifferent with harbhajan proving more usefull with the bat then with the ball. the kiwis wouldn't be too easy to beat in the third test

  • sachin_vvsfan on November 16, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    " the utter professionalism with which they prepare and play" Perfect sentence to describe NZ and vettori who is a true gentleman unlike the cry baby sangakkara. "Vettori's team will still be expected to lose in Nagpur" Why is that so? Zaheer is already out and I back NZ for Nagpur test and expect vettori to come hard at us and wont be surprised if NZ wins the series .BCC,I you have to give one more 'final' warning to Sreesanth. He will never learn despite being in the company of sachin, vvs dravid.

  • Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on November 16, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    I was one of the first of the many Indians who wrote off the Kiwis before the series started. I must say, Kiwis put me to shame and made me eat my words. Hats off to them, coming from the land of The Great Sir Richard Hadlee. Congratulations on their stupendous individual as well as collective efforts.

    Coming to Indians, the less said about them the better. Once again my apologies to all the New Zealanders including their players for writing them off. They have been the epitome of perseverance and collective effort. Three cheers to the Kiwis. I wouldn't be heart broken if they beat India in the final test. They put up a thoroughly world class display so far and deserve to take the series as much as the Indians. I hope the series decider will have a result.

  • nlambda on November 16, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    Man we are going to get beaten 0-2 or 0-3 by SA :-(

  • on November 16, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    I am very proud of our team. For years the top order has been scolded and underperformed - we have the very beginnings of a top 6 that hopefully will stay selected and learn to be consistent. Mccullum as a test opener? What a revelation and as a kiwi it is very exciting to see that he can be a sehwag or a gayle. Williamson is fanstastic! Finally a youngster with top billing who is performing. And one last thing, Vettori is taking wickets. All very exciting - in response to Dhoni - both teams are playing on these dead pitches mate, if you were number one then you should be smashing us on any turf. Go the black caps!

  • on November 16, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    Sachin_VVS, Jesus man at least keep us Sri Lankans away in a series that doesn't involve us. I am not going to say anything against India or for New Zealand, let the performances prove so everyone knows whose number one :). Btw didn't New Zealand lose to Bangladesh 4-0 in an ODI series recently ? I rest my case.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on November 16, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    @sachin_vvs fan. Why don't you say cry baby Sanga and cry baby DHONI,they are no different really. Sanga is actually a better speaker. I don't know what Sanga did to you, apparently people don't like outspoken and intelligent cricketers who love to express their opinions. More of them please. Anyway...NZ prove why they are always admired, they are real fighters and play in great spirit.

  • Freddy-boy on November 16, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    As an Aus I agree wholeheartedly (which is the operative word here). Godd on yer fellas. Although I think India's attack is not much chope apart from Khan (sometimes) and the provocative run machine off spinner (most times - against Aus anyway)

  • on November 16, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    I think NZ have done really well in this series. The major disappointment for India have been their bowlers. NZ batsmen have hit centuries in almost all innings. There needs to be at least one batting collapse for a result and that hasn't happened. NZ batsmen have really applied themselves and they now have, what, 4 different centurions already? This is clearly a bowling failure from India's perspective. Why is Ojha playing and not Ishant? We can't expect Zaheer to do all the work. Sreesanth misfires a lot. Harbhajan has lost his charm this series. Only Zaheer seemed capable of moving the ball.