New Zealand XI v Indians, Tour Match, Whangarei, 1st day February 2, 2014

Pandey takes three as Indians get good workout


Indians 41 for 0 trail New Zealand XI 262 for 9 dec (O'Donnell 80, Pandey 3-42, Ashwin 2-45) by 221 runs

The Indians got what they would have wanted out of the first day of their practice match in Whangarei. The New Zealand XI batsmen lasted long enough to give the Indian bowlers a six-hour workout on a nice batting wicket and after a sizeable opening stand, the wickets came regularly for the Indians to keep running in under a hot sun.

The visitors' luck with the toss finally ran out in the absence of MS Dhoni, who had won it all five times in the one-dayers. The India captain did not make the trip from Auckland to Whangarei, and Virat Kohli also stayed behind. Rohit Sharma led the side, with Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar sitting out.

Ishwar Pandey was the pick of the bowlers, finally getting a chance on the tour as the teams decided to use 12 players each. Pandey had not been considered ready enough to feature in any of the five ODIs, and he was the fifth bowler to be used, taking the field after the first drinks break. He made the opportunity count as he was sharp and disciplined, finding bounce just outside off stump. Apart from an over where he tried out the short ball a few times and was pulled for boundaries, he rarely strayed in length or line.

Among the new arrivals, Zaheer Khan did not extend himself too much, but was accurate as usual. He also worked up a decent rhythm, beginning with an opening spell of 6-4-7-0. He sent down 18 overs in all, and apart from the normal slow chases on the field, his efforts did not seem to strain him.

The lone wicket he captured was that of Anton Devcich, the opposition captain and only international player in the New Zealand XI side. It was a straightforward Zaheer dismissal of a left-hander- inviting the drive outside off and finding just a bit of movement to take the outside edge.

Umesh Yadav also did not go flat out, and eased himself into the tour. He did start to run in faster as the day progressed, but he often remained on the shorter side and was taken for a few runs towards the end as the last pair of batsmen had a slog.

Ishant Sharma struggled with his front foot, as ten no-balls showed, and was unable to find a measure of rhythm for large parts of the day. As always, that wasn't for lack of effort. He ran in harder as the day got hotter, and generated good bounce after tea. He dismissed the opposition's highest scorer, the New Zealand Under-19 captain Robert O'Donnell, who was taken by a diving Ajinkya Rahane at gully after making 80.

Soon to be bound for the U-19 World Cup, O'Donnell played several confident pulls, especially off Ishant. He also cut well, and stepped out to R Ashwin to loft him down the ground.

Ashwin was steady, tossing it up generously at times and also bowling flatter in between. He broke through for the Indians after they had gone through 30 fruitless overs in the morning, trapping George Worker lbw on an attempted sweep.

M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan batted out the seventh and final hour of play after the hosts declared on 262 for 9 at the end of 78 overs. There were a couple of deliveries that didn't carry to the cordon, but Vijay left well overall and Dhawan struck a few crisp boundaries through extra cover.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Al on February 4, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    India should aim to win this test series, or at least win a test match. If Dhoni wants to win, he should play 5 bowlers - 4 pacers and a spinner. Sir Jadeja can fill in the role of spinner/all rounder. Please, no Ishant or Ashwin. In the last test Ashwin played, he failed to take a single wicket. Even part time spinner like Duminy took 2 wickets. Ishwar Pandey deserves a chance. Zaheer, Shami and Yadav can be the remaining pacers.

  • Lakshminarayanan on February 3, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    We have lack of form with batsmen, better we should go with 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers including Jadeja. Team should be Vijay, Shikhar, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Rahane, Dhoni, Jadeja, Zaheer, Pandey & Shami. Hope Dhoni will go with this XI, he will always consider safer side than be taking risk. But if he try to bring Ashwin, definetely Shikhar will be out and Ashwin & Jadeja will play as all-rounders. But this option will collapse. Will India bring pride back in Test at-least ?

  • manoz on February 3, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    Really excited to see fight back spirit of india in test match...pandey and pujara will be the player to ....

  • Nik on February 3, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - nicely said on the first part. Problem with only 4 bowlers is that if (i.e.: when) 1 or 2 start getting carted around, they all run for cover! India can't do without the 5th (spinner or seamer).

  • Nik on February 3, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    An U19 player carted the Indian bowlers around....Signs are not looking good for the Test Series. Hopefully another whitewash which may FINALLY lead to the ousting of both Fletcher (permanently across all formats) and Dhoni (keep him for T20's and ODI's - but not as captain of ODI's).

  • Dummy4 on February 3, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    Team India mindset is 'how can they draw" the series. Two Drawn tests will tarnish India's status. NZ have a great incentive if they win 2-0, they will move up one notch above West Indies in Test Ranking. From the Practice game it is obvious Indian think tank has concluded they can not reasonably take 20 Wickets in 5 days of Test Cricket. Another Indication will be if Dhoni opts to field after winning the toss.

  • Android on February 3, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    I'll go with 4 bowlers with jadeja all rounder, zaheer, Umesh, shami and pandey

  • Android on February 3, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    nz could not win west indeis but beaten india badly...what does it mean..r we deserving for 9 odi ranking out side india...

  • madhurendra on February 3, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    its clear to everyone but msd that pandey merits a decent opportunity in the indian team. well done pandey ; ashwin wouldnt be a bad captain if he could improve his away bowling- this is now his 3rd away tour time he started adjusting to away pitches n kookaburra ball. of course msd sees him as indispensable and spin slots filled but ojha n rasool (though i'm not sure they would get more wickets away but deserved a chance) have been unlucky and in future kuldeep yadav n maybe even shreyas gopal may be breathing down their necks; msd has said he needs a seaming allrounder. y not ask the selectors for rishi dhawan for england.

  • Android on February 3, 2014, 3:04 GMT varon aaron not in test squad...why india do this...pujara was not in odi even after knowing the current batting order in odi unable to play 50 overs in there any way to bring varon in test squad ..

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