India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 3rd day September 2, 2012

NZ's batting fragility bails India out

On a placid Bangalore wicket, visiting batsmen contrived to lose nine wickets against India's listless bowling
12

When Ross Taylor hit a controlled cover drive for four off Umesh Yadav, one middle-aged man in the stand told his friend, "Taylor looks good for another century in the game," to which his friend replied, "Yes, that will set up the game." It's not often that you get home fans wanting the opposition captain to score a century with a Test evenly balanced, but it was an indication of how lightly most people take this New Zealand side.

And New Zealand demonstrated why. On a placid Chinnaswamy Stadium track, with the Indian bowling looking listless, and the fields rarely attacking, the visitors contrived to surrender nine wickets and not one of their players made it to a half-century, though each of their middle-order batsmen went past 30.

Daniel Flynn, in particular, is becoming a master of the insubstantial cameo: since his recall earlier this year, he has scored more than 20 in five of his eight innings without converting to a half-century. Flynn had a set Taylor for company early on, and was helped by a series of long hops and full tosses from India's spinners. Without looking troubled and shelving that sweep shot which had led him down three times this series, he coasted to 31 before, as he does so often, he had a brain-fade. With two slips lying in wait, he guided an R Ashwin delivery straight to first slip.

It was one of many wickets that New Zealand have gifted in this Test, the worst of which perhaps were Martin Guptill's two dismissals - tamely chipping a full delivery to midwicket in the first innings, and then inside-edging a full toss on to the stumps in the second. The most expensive, though, could well be James Franklin's misjudgement in the final hour of the third day as he was beaten by the turn after charging out to Ashwin. New Zealand were 216 for 6 at that stage, and a lead of 300 wasn't wishful thinking, but 20 minutes later they were 222 for 9.

"That happens sometimes when we take a positive approach," Bob Carter, New Zealand's assistant coach, said. "We have to go out there and play the strokes. That helps you to get more opportunities to score runs. I think James was doing the right thing by trying to get some runs for us. You should also credit the bowlers for the way they bowled."

The giveaways from the opposition batsmen helped India, and while it may seem churlish to question an attack that is set to roll over the opposition for less than 250 for the third time in four innings, there have been worrying passages of play for Indian fans in this Test.

Umesh Yadav rattled Kruger van Wyk with body blows off successive deliveries, but hasn't been much of a threat otherwise in this series. He has leaked plenty of runs in this match, through an abundance of half-volleys on the leg stump and an over-reliance on the short ball on an unresponsive surface.

When Franklin and Flynn, two of the lesser lights of the New Zealand line-up, started building a partnership, there was little threat from India's spinners, who couldn't reproduce the accuracy of their Hyderabad performance. The field was quickly spread out, and New Zealand began to milk the bowling without needing to take risks.

A similar flatness was evident in India's bowling on the first day, when Taylor got going, and later with van Wyk and Doug Bracewell going strong. With New Zealand regularly finding the boundaries, India looked short of ideas, and ways to stifle the batting.

Granted there was little reverse-swing on offer, and that the track provided little help for the bowlers once the ball got old, but allowing New Zealand's lightweight batting to score at nearly four an over through the match, and posing so few questions of them is a cause for concern.

Here they have been bailed out by a slew of mistakes from the visitors, but how will they fare when up against a line-up of batsmen with more of an appetite for runs, and a tighter technique? Ashwin and Ojha's outstanding recent home record has been built against two of the most fragile teams around, and they will have a sterner test when the likes of Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott come visiting. Assessment of how good or how bad this relatively new-look attack is will have to wait till they perform against opponents whom the crowds won't be egging on.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 3, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    I don't agree with the author of this article on some of his points. 1) M Guptil's 1st innings dismissal --> This shot was induced by the bowler [Ohja] who tossed up and batsman was trying to play the aggressive shot and mishit to short midwicket. 2)D Flynn dismissal in 2nd innings. --> This was very well set up by the bowler[Ashwin].. See his previous few balls before this dismissal, were played by batman on the front foot and this one was the flighted one. The batsman was not sure about the foot moment... Please see the picture --- His weight on the front foot when he played this cut shot.... I feel that WI played the spinners better.. This article is putting too much pressure on the young spinners... One player hasn't played 10 matches and other one playing his 15th test match... Agreed, Yadav looked listless and Zaheer bowled well in the first spell of the first match... but not at his best...

  • satish619chandar on September 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Why are some unnecessarily targeting Ashwin is beyond reach. 49 wickets in 8 games including 9 in 3 against Australia. Apart from that, 40 in 4 against lowly WI and NZ but won't you take 40 in 5 for a upcoming spinner? Ojha being a more traditional spinner doesn't have this sort of stats. Ashwin did pick wickets in traditional way and not through mere slogs or gifting from the batters. Leave the guy alone and let us enjoy the success of a guy rather than cornering him.

  • on September 3, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    I don't see ENG posing any threat to us... They are going to stay at no 4 or 5 by losing 4-0 to us... Such a poor team ENG

  • on September 3, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Following laggards from indian cricket and team must be removed immediately

    Srikant Ganguli Fletcher Sharad Pawar SACHIN, Harbhjan and these should be replaced by Gavaskar,Unmukta Harminder and rkumble

  • on September 3, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    ENG is such an overhyped team... Even NZ would have chased that 143 against PAK... ENG were dismissed for 72.. They are the worst players of spin... They were whitewashed 5-0 by us in last yr ODI series

  • S.N.Singh on September 3, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    MR.SIDDHART RAVIDRAN YOU ARE SO RIGHT TO THINK THAT STUPID BATTING FROM NEW ZELAND BAILED OUT INDIA FROM TROUBLE. WHAT YOU DID NOT CONSIDERED IS THAT INDIA'S BOWLING IS ON TRIAL AND NOT REALIZING THAT NEW ZELAND BATTING IS AT IT WEAKEST IN YEARS BUT THEY STILL HAVE TOP CLASS BOWLING OF WHICH TAYLOR ALTHOUGH NOT OF TOP CLASS IS THE BEST BATSMAN NEW ZEALAND HAVE WHICH IS NOT GOOD FOR THE TEAM. INDIA HAVE A GREAT BATTING SIDE AND IF THEY GET A PARTNERSHIP FROM GAMBHIR AND SEHWAG WHICH WE DO GET FROM INDIA. ONLY ONE OF THE OPENING PAIR COMES OFF AT A TIME. YOU HAVE ALL RIGHT TO CRITICIZE THE INDIAN TEAM. THEY SHOULD HAVE PERFORM BETTER. NEW ZEALAND IS THE LEAST OF THE FIVE TOP INTERNATIONAL TEST TEAM. I HOPE THE INDIAN BATSMEN GET OFF THIS INNINGS AND WON BY A LAND SLIDE. S.N.SINGH USA

  • Patchmaster on September 3, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    Why oh why did Taylor bring on Patel in stead of bowling Franklin (who is pretty experienced in Indian conditions) It's like Taylor has forgotten Franklin can bowl ! Patel's no ball (which would have resulted in a stumping of Kholi) was unforgivable - how is a spinner bowling no balls. So frustrating as an NZ fan. On the postive side, our bowling unit looks as good as it has looked in a long time. Boult, Bracewell, Franklin (when they bowl him.....) and Southee is a decent attack.

  • Naresh28 on September 2, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    India's weakness in two areas yet again shows up. The Pace attack and Opening pair. Why not bring Irfan Pathan as an opener? He can bat as well as bowl. Plus he is a good fielder. Ashwin at least contributes with the bat better than some of the batsman in our side.

  • kalyanbk on September 2, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    We keep forgetting that Ashwin has played only 8 tests. Why don't we let him develop at his own pace? It is not as if we have a Prasanna or Kumble waiting in the wings. As for England, I will challenge right here that Indian Spinners will outbowl Swann and I seriously doubt that they are losing any sleep over the arrival of English Batsmen.

  • Alexk400 on September 2, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    f NZ scored another 300+ runs they could have won this game. At present india will win this TEST. For nz oppurtunity missed again because of lack of TEST batting.

  • on September 3, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    I don't agree with the author of this article on some of his points. 1) M Guptil's 1st innings dismissal --> This shot was induced by the bowler [Ohja] who tossed up and batsman was trying to play the aggressive shot and mishit to short midwicket. 2)D Flynn dismissal in 2nd innings. --> This was very well set up by the bowler[Ashwin].. See his previous few balls before this dismissal, were played by batman on the front foot and this one was the flighted one. The batsman was not sure about the foot moment... Please see the picture --- His weight on the front foot when he played this cut shot.... I feel that WI played the spinners better.. This article is putting too much pressure on the young spinners... One player hasn't played 10 matches and other one playing his 15th test match... Agreed, Yadav looked listless and Zaheer bowled well in the first spell of the first match... but not at his best...

  • satish619chandar on September 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Why are some unnecessarily targeting Ashwin is beyond reach. 49 wickets in 8 games including 9 in 3 against Australia. Apart from that, 40 in 4 against lowly WI and NZ but won't you take 40 in 5 for a upcoming spinner? Ojha being a more traditional spinner doesn't have this sort of stats. Ashwin did pick wickets in traditional way and not through mere slogs or gifting from the batters. Leave the guy alone and let us enjoy the success of a guy rather than cornering him.

  • on September 3, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    I don't see ENG posing any threat to us... They are going to stay at no 4 or 5 by losing 4-0 to us... Such a poor team ENG

  • on September 3, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Following laggards from indian cricket and team must be removed immediately

    Srikant Ganguli Fletcher Sharad Pawar SACHIN, Harbhjan and these should be replaced by Gavaskar,Unmukta Harminder and rkumble

  • on September 3, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    ENG is such an overhyped team... Even NZ would have chased that 143 against PAK... ENG were dismissed for 72.. They are the worst players of spin... They were whitewashed 5-0 by us in last yr ODI series

  • S.N.Singh on September 3, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    MR.SIDDHART RAVIDRAN YOU ARE SO RIGHT TO THINK THAT STUPID BATTING FROM NEW ZELAND BAILED OUT INDIA FROM TROUBLE. WHAT YOU DID NOT CONSIDERED IS THAT INDIA'S BOWLING IS ON TRIAL AND NOT REALIZING THAT NEW ZELAND BATTING IS AT IT WEAKEST IN YEARS BUT THEY STILL HAVE TOP CLASS BOWLING OF WHICH TAYLOR ALTHOUGH NOT OF TOP CLASS IS THE BEST BATSMAN NEW ZEALAND HAVE WHICH IS NOT GOOD FOR THE TEAM. INDIA HAVE A GREAT BATTING SIDE AND IF THEY GET A PARTNERSHIP FROM GAMBHIR AND SEHWAG WHICH WE DO GET FROM INDIA. ONLY ONE OF THE OPENING PAIR COMES OFF AT A TIME. YOU HAVE ALL RIGHT TO CRITICIZE THE INDIAN TEAM. THEY SHOULD HAVE PERFORM BETTER. NEW ZEALAND IS THE LEAST OF THE FIVE TOP INTERNATIONAL TEST TEAM. I HOPE THE INDIAN BATSMEN GET OFF THIS INNINGS AND WON BY A LAND SLIDE. S.N.SINGH USA

  • Patchmaster on September 3, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    Why oh why did Taylor bring on Patel in stead of bowling Franklin (who is pretty experienced in Indian conditions) It's like Taylor has forgotten Franklin can bowl ! Patel's no ball (which would have resulted in a stumping of Kholi) was unforgivable - how is a spinner bowling no balls. So frustrating as an NZ fan. On the postive side, our bowling unit looks as good as it has looked in a long time. Boult, Bracewell, Franklin (when they bowl him.....) and Southee is a decent attack.

  • Naresh28 on September 2, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    India's weakness in two areas yet again shows up. The Pace attack and Opening pair. Why not bring Irfan Pathan as an opener? He can bat as well as bowl. Plus he is a good fielder. Ashwin at least contributes with the bat better than some of the batsman in our side.

  • kalyanbk on September 2, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    We keep forgetting that Ashwin has played only 8 tests. Why don't we let him develop at his own pace? It is not as if we have a Prasanna or Kumble waiting in the wings. As for England, I will challenge right here that Indian Spinners will outbowl Swann and I seriously doubt that they are losing any sleep over the arrival of English Batsmen.

  • Alexk400 on September 2, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    f NZ scored another 300+ runs they could have won this game. At present india will win this TEST. For nz oppurtunity missed again because of lack of TEST batting.

  • Nampally on September 2, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Aakash, Indian bowling is very weak despite Ashwin & Ojha Duo's taking 31 wickets between them out of 39 so far. The seamers have been poor at best. Yadev sprayed the ball all over the pitch with no control on direction or length. ZAK seems to be a shadow of himself. I shudder to think what this bowling will do against stronger batting of England who are next to visit India for Tests. I was particulary impressed with the pace & control of D.Kulkarni in the solo IPL match that he played for Mumbai. He is very similar to ZAK & should replace ZAK. I also like to see Irfan Pathan coming in as an all rounder + Ishant. These 3 can boost the bowling. Indian batting is also inconsistent. Only Kohli & Pujara appear to have the Test calibre in the side. Gambhir has been poor & Sehwag scoring by default. Tendulkar seems to be "past it & out of Form". Now is the time to replace these 3 with say U.Chand, Rahane & Tiwary. A younger & more alert fielding will add to their keenness & Will to succeed.

  • kmpm on September 2, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    Somehow I have a feeling that Ashwin's perfromances are becoming delusional, making us to think he can lead the attack but when pressure builds up, he is no more than a regular bowler. As we saw him in first innings, he was clueless when Taylor was attacking. Ojha on the other side seemed to have a little courage to face the reality. Umesh doesnt have the accuracy and he holds the spot just for his pace at the moment but he has to put up variety in his bowling. Sure bowling will be a concern when it matters. We need spirited performances from the bowling esp when things are not going well.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • kmpm on September 2, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    Somehow I have a feeling that Ashwin's perfromances are becoming delusional, making us to think he can lead the attack but when pressure builds up, he is no more than a regular bowler. As we saw him in first innings, he was clueless when Taylor was attacking. Ojha on the other side seemed to have a little courage to face the reality. Umesh doesnt have the accuracy and he holds the spot just for his pace at the moment but he has to put up variety in his bowling. Sure bowling will be a concern when it matters. We need spirited performances from the bowling esp when things are not going well.

  • Nampally on September 2, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Aakash, Indian bowling is very weak despite Ashwin & Ojha Duo's taking 31 wickets between them out of 39 so far. The seamers have been poor at best. Yadev sprayed the ball all over the pitch with no control on direction or length. ZAK seems to be a shadow of himself. I shudder to think what this bowling will do against stronger batting of England who are next to visit India for Tests. I was particulary impressed with the pace & control of D.Kulkarni in the solo IPL match that he played for Mumbai. He is very similar to ZAK & should replace ZAK. I also like to see Irfan Pathan coming in as an all rounder + Ishant. These 3 can boost the bowling. Indian batting is also inconsistent. Only Kohli & Pujara appear to have the Test calibre in the side. Gambhir has been poor & Sehwag scoring by default. Tendulkar seems to be "past it & out of Form". Now is the time to replace these 3 with say U.Chand, Rahane & Tiwary. A younger & more alert fielding will add to their keenness & Will to succeed.

  • Alexk400 on September 2, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    f NZ scored another 300+ runs they could have won this game. At present india will win this TEST. For nz oppurtunity missed again because of lack of TEST batting.

  • kalyanbk on September 2, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    We keep forgetting that Ashwin has played only 8 tests. Why don't we let him develop at his own pace? It is not as if we have a Prasanna or Kumble waiting in the wings. As for England, I will challenge right here that Indian Spinners will outbowl Swann and I seriously doubt that they are losing any sleep over the arrival of English Batsmen.

  • Naresh28 on September 2, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    India's weakness in two areas yet again shows up. The Pace attack and Opening pair. Why not bring Irfan Pathan as an opener? He can bat as well as bowl. Plus he is a good fielder. Ashwin at least contributes with the bat better than some of the batsman in our side.

  • Patchmaster on September 3, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    Why oh why did Taylor bring on Patel in stead of bowling Franklin (who is pretty experienced in Indian conditions) It's like Taylor has forgotten Franklin can bowl ! Patel's no ball (which would have resulted in a stumping of Kholi) was unforgivable - how is a spinner bowling no balls. So frustrating as an NZ fan. On the postive side, our bowling unit looks as good as it has looked in a long time. Boult, Bracewell, Franklin (when they bowl him.....) and Southee is a decent attack.

  • S.N.Singh on September 3, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    MR.SIDDHART RAVIDRAN YOU ARE SO RIGHT TO THINK THAT STUPID BATTING FROM NEW ZELAND BAILED OUT INDIA FROM TROUBLE. WHAT YOU DID NOT CONSIDERED IS THAT INDIA'S BOWLING IS ON TRIAL AND NOT REALIZING THAT NEW ZELAND BATTING IS AT IT WEAKEST IN YEARS BUT THEY STILL HAVE TOP CLASS BOWLING OF WHICH TAYLOR ALTHOUGH NOT OF TOP CLASS IS THE BEST BATSMAN NEW ZEALAND HAVE WHICH IS NOT GOOD FOR THE TEAM. INDIA HAVE A GREAT BATTING SIDE AND IF THEY GET A PARTNERSHIP FROM GAMBHIR AND SEHWAG WHICH WE DO GET FROM INDIA. ONLY ONE OF THE OPENING PAIR COMES OFF AT A TIME. YOU HAVE ALL RIGHT TO CRITICIZE THE INDIAN TEAM. THEY SHOULD HAVE PERFORM BETTER. NEW ZEALAND IS THE LEAST OF THE FIVE TOP INTERNATIONAL TEST TEAM. I HOPE THE INDIAN BATSMEN GET OFF THIS INNINGS AND WON BY A LAND SLIDE. S.N.SINGH USA

  • on September 3, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    ENG is such an overhyped team... Even NZ would have chased that 143 against PAK... ENG were dismissed for 72.. They are the worst players of spin... They were whitewashed 5-0 by us in last yr ODI series

  • on September 3, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Following laggards from indian cricket and team must be removed immediately

    Srikant Ganguli Fletcher Sharad Pawar SACHIN, Harbhjan and these should be replaced by Gavaskar,Unmukta Harminder and rkumble

  • on September 3, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    I don't see ENG posing any threat to us... They are going to stay at no 4 or 5 by losing 4-0 to us... Such a poor team ENG