New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 3rd day February 8, 2014

Shami and Jadeja wake India up

Under pressure for much of this tour, India were roused by a sparks of brilliance from two individuals who ambushed New Zealand in their second innings
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The New Zealand nightmare was becoming longer and longer for India. Someone had to pinch them hard and rouse them up from this slumber where nothing was going right. Four defeats in the ODIs followed by a 301-run deficit in the first Test is enough to sap confidence. They had bowled 121.4 overs to New Zealand at Eden Park and then batted less than half that number. On the third morning, they lost their last six wickets in 16 overs.

Usually, a shell-shocked unit turns up to go through the motions in such a scenario, follow-on or not. New Zealand could have bashed a quick 200 or 250, set India an impossible target, and unleashed their four fast bowlers again. Was there a way out of this for India?

Cricket is a team game, but teams often need extraordinary individual sparks to come together in seemingly hopeless circumstances. Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja answered that call for India.

The pair had gone for a combined 2 for 215 in the first innings, but in the second they were so intense that New Zealand were forced to live the nightmare, slumping to 25 for 5 in startlingly quick time. To remain hopeful in dire circumstances requires optimism, but to back that up by playing with so much conviction takes immense self-belief.

From the first ball of the second innings, Shami went at New Zealand with all he had, sprinting in and hurling down one testing delivery after another. His run-up of long strides is usually energetic but throughout his spell of 10-1-30-3, Shami was like a high-power locomotive that had been unhinged from its load of wagons.

Shami seemed like making something happen almost every ball. No other Indian fast bowler - not even a New Zealand one - appeared so menacing through an entire spell, and that too an extended one. His length was fuller, but he did not overpitch, making it hard for batsmen to come forward.

Shami struck in each of his first two overs, and New Zealand were unable to recover from that shock. His delivery to trap Hamish Rutherford lbw for a golden duck was a peach - fast, pitched-up, moving in. Peter Fulton played a poor shot in Shami's second over, but you could argue it was the bowler who had made the batsman play without moving his feet, having pegged him back with a short at the body the previous delivery.

Shami could have had three wickets in three overs, including that of Ross Taylor for a golden duck, had an outside edge travelled to gully. He did add a third scalp, though, by bowling Corey Anderson soon after lunch with a skiddy delivery.

Zaheer Khan was impressed with Shami, saying his ability to strike in clusters placed him above merely good bowlers. "He is a great prospect for India and has had some brilliant performances," Zaheer said. "No doubt he is a match-winner. His quality to take wickets in bunches is what decides him from a good bowler to a really, really good bowler. Shami has got that quality, he has shown that quality in whatever little cricket he has played and with experience he is going to get better."

After the New Zealand openers, India had to deal with Kane Williamson, who had gone past fifty each time on this tour. India, however, found another individual spark to end this threat.

Jadeja had failed to perform his containing role in the first innings, conceding 120 in 26 overs. He had fought with the bat, though, making an unbeaten 30 as the rest capitulated around him. Still, it was his energy in the field that made a vital impact. It is not easy to react so quickly at short midwicket, put in a dive and snap up a well-timed clip, but Jadeja did exactly that to dismiss Williamson.

What followed was inspirational. M Vijay had dropped Brendon McCullum in the last over before lunch, and New Zealand would have gone into the break with their two experienced men, McCullum and Taylor, still around. McCullum is faster than Jadeja, so for the batsman to be caught so far short of the crease while attempting a second run, shows how accurate Jadeja's ball-chase and throw was. Jadeja might have an innocuous presence, but he produces these moments so often that a captain will always have multiple uses for him.

India had let New Zealand escape from 30 for 3 in the first innings, but Shami and Jadeja made sure that no such turnaround occurred this time. The batsmen may or may not achieve the target of 407, but they ensured India had finally woken up in New Zealand.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • paapam on February 8, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    India needed Kumar in and one batsman less. Which batter? Good question!

  • Temuzin on February 8, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    I cant believe how much less knowledgeable some of the experienced indian fans are. If Shami is bowling good that doesn't mean captain should bowl him for long spells. The guy will be tired and then of no good use unless he is provided with timely break. Dhoni was doing that. Giving shami a break to recoup.

  • howzzattt on February 8, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    Still anybody's game... Batters need to really do well and I believe with three triple hundreds in first class cricket and a brilliant fielding performance in this test must have given Jadeja a lot of confidence. I believe he should bat higher up the order because once set, it is also difficult to get him out. Remember, he was also unbeaten in the First innings. Vitally important is the fact that Kohli and Pujara need to do it mainly...

  • DhairyBoghani on February 8, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    Poojara is very good at close in fielder. not much faster to stop runs like Jadeja. Why we don't try him as a slip fielder?

    Kohli is good slip fielder of spin bowling. Why he is not doing job for fasters?

    Rahane & Jadeja are great fielders ever India had. Both produce wickets by their fielding (catching / runouts).

    Vijay or Dhawan must not be their at slip.

  • InsideHedge on February 8, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    @AvidCricFan: I couldn't agree more, you've summarised very well.

  • DhairyBoghani on February 8, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    Now people have to understand that Z khan is past. in first inning he took 2 wickets - both of bad balls going down to leg. in second inning he had taken nothing. I tnow his status is 2/23. but both wickets he took was wickets produced by fielders. So this type of wickets can taken by any bowler. He is not fast in field. not scoring many runs. can't stay at wickets for a long time. not much iconomical bowler. 120-125 can't produce anything. so what is he doing in team? He can play mentor role by siting on bench.

  • on February 8, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    Awesome, finally Shami is bowling to his potential on this tour. Tbh I think he's got some pretty bad instructions from bowling coaches about "bowling areas". He's not a back-of-a-length bowler. His natural length should be pitching right up and swinging it. And we saw the difference today.

    I still think Ishant doesn't deserve to be in the team, and Zak is past his prime. I think Pandey would be a good choice for the next game (no matter what happens in this Test), and for the future we need to look again at Umesh Yadav, because I'm not sure what he's done wrong. Also, I think we need to sack our bowling coach.

  • Nampally on February 8, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    Real Challenge for the Indian barring is to chase the remaining 315 runs over 2 days to win the first Test abroad! Pujar has been fed a consistent range of balls outside the off stump by the 3 LH seamers- Boult, Anderson & Wagner. He has to keep on leaving them. They are all expecting Pujara to go down as in the first innings! After several overs of this "Rubbish wide outside off stump" the 3 seamers will tire themselves. Then go after them in session 3 of Day 4. The policy should be to "Tire them & then Tear Them"! This worked with Steyn, Morkel & Philander very well. Why not against the NZ bowlers who are much slower around 135 KPH of less. Sodhi's leg spinners are the ones to watch on a pitch with worn patches. A planned discipline approach with patience will help India carry over the finish line.Please do not squander this golden chance of winning the first Test match overseas under Dhoni's leadership, after his 0-10 record. It might be his only winning Test abroad! Good luck guys

  • Cpt.Meanster on February 8, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    That spell by Shami and the rest of the Indian bowlers has shown WHY India can be a good bowling unit. It'was heartening to see NZ humbled as they should have been the entire series. This is what happens when you bowl with passion and intensity. Dhoni's attacking fields also helped. It was a different Indian team and it was awesome. India can now look to draw this game if not win it thanks to their wonderful bowling effort. Day 4 is the most crucial of this test match.

  • Mr_Anonymous on February 8, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    India's slip catching needs a lot of improvement. I think if the slip catching can improve and the slip fielders back up the bowlers, the bowling attack will be more confident and potent. I am not sure Murali Vijay deserves to be in the slip cordon. Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and maybe Pujara or Kohli need to form the slip cordon especially in the first 10-15 overs after the new ball is available and they need to be groomed for this role over the next 2-3 series'. They should take tips from Dravid who did a wonderful job in the slips.

    India may have woken up although I still think NZ are the favorites to win from the current match situation. I think one of the items in India's favor is that there are still upto 180 overs left in the match. If India's batsmen can be patient especially through the first hour of play, there is a small chance that the match may go for a close finish.

  • paapam on February 8, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    India needed Kumar in and one batsman less. Which batter? Good question!

  • Temuzin on February 8, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    I cant believe how much less knowledgeable some of the experienced indian fans are. If Shami is bowling good that doesn't mean captain should bowl him for long spells. The guy will be tired and then of no good use unless he is provided with timely break. Dhoni was doing that. Giving shami a break to recoup.

  • howzzattt on February 8, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    Still anybody's game... Batters need to really do well and I believe with three triple hundreds in first class cricket and a brilliant fielding performance in this test must have given Jadeja a lot of confidence. I believe he should bat higher up the order because once set, it is also difficult to get him out. Remember, he was also unbeaten in the First innings. Vitally important is the fact that Kohli and Pujara need to do it mainly...

  • DhairyBoghani on February 8, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    Poojara is very good at close in fielder. not much faster to stop runs like Jadeja. Why we don't try him as a slip fielder?

    Kohli is good slip fielder of spin bowling. Why he is not doing job for fasters?

    Rahane & Jadeja are great fielders ever India had. Both produce wickets by their fielding (catching / runouts).

    Vijay or Dhawan must not be their at slip.

  • InsideHedge on February 8, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    @AvidCricFan: I couldn't agree more, you've summarised very well.

  • DhairyBoghani on February 8, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    Now people have to understand that Z khan is past. in first inning he took 2 wickets - both of bad balls going down to leg. in second inning he had taken nothing. I tnow his status is 2/23. but both wickets he took was wickets produced by fielders. So this type of wickets can taken by any bowler. He is not fast in field. not scoring many runs. can't stay at wickets for a long time. not much iconomical bowler. 120-125 can't produce anything. so what is he doing in team? He can play mentor role by siting on bench.

  • on February 8, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    Awesome, finally Shami is bowling to his potential on this tour. Tbh I think he's got some pretty bad instructions from bowling coaches about "bowling areas". He's not a back-of-a-length bowler. His natural length should be pitching right up and swinging it. And we saw the difference today.

    I still think Ishant doesn't deserve to be in the team, and Zak is past his prime. I think Pandey would be a good choice for the next game (no matter what happens in this Test), and for the future we need to look again at Umesh Yadav, because I'm not sure what he's done wrong. Also, I think we need to sack our bowling coach.

  • Nampally on February 8, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    Real Challenge for the Indian barring is to chase the remaining 315 runs over 2 days to win the first Test abroad! Pujar has been fed a consistent range of balls outside the off stump by the 3 LH seamers- Boult, Anderson & Wagner. He has to keep on leaving them. They are all expecting Pujara to go down as in the first innings! After several overs of this "Rubbish wide outside off stump" the 3 seamers will tire themselves. Then go after them in session 3 of Day 4. The policy should be to "Tire them & then Tear Them"! This worked with Steyn, Morkel & Philander very well. Why not against the NZ bowlers who are much slower around 135 KPH of less. Sodhi's leg spinners are the ones to watch on a pitch with worn patches. A planned discipline approach with patience will help India carry over the finish line.Please do not squander this golden chance of winning the first Test match overseas under Dhoni's leadership, after his 0-10 record. It might be his only winning Test abroad! Good luck guys

  • Cpt.Meanster on February 8, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    That spell by Shami and the rest of the Indian bowlers has shown WHY India can be a good bowling unit. It'was heartening to see NZ humbled as they should have been the entire series. This is what happens when you bowl with passion and intensity. Dhoni's attacking fields also helped. It was a different Indian team and it was awesome. India can now look to draw this game if not win it thanks to their wonderful bowling effort. Day 4 is the most crucial of this test match.

  • Mr_Anonymous on February 8, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    India's slip catching needs a lot of improvement. I think if the slip catching can improve and the slip fielders back up the bowlers, the bowling attack will be more confident and potent. I am not sure Murali Vijay deserves to be in the slip cordon. Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and maybe Pujara or Kohli need to form the slip cordon especially in the first 10-15 overs after the new ball is available and they need to be groomed for this role over the next 2-3 series'. They should take tips from Dravid who did a wonderful job in the slips.

    India may have woken up although I still think NZ are the favorites to win from the current match situation. I think one of the items in India's favor is that there are still upto 180 overs left in the match. If India's batsmen can be patient especially through the first hour of play, there is a small chance that the match may go for a close finish.

  • on February 8, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    Murali Vijay dropping Mccullum twice can prove costly if India lose this match....

  • on February 8, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    What happens when India loses Dhawan and Kohli in the first ten overs of the day on D4?

  • on February 8, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant stuff from India.Kudos to Jadeja and Shami for 'waking the team up".I am really happy with the way these two are progressing into top-class international cricketers.Players like Jadeja and Rahane are really giving a new dimension to this young Indian side.Fingers crossed,I will be most disappointed if India don't pull it off from here.Could well start a run of overseas victories for this exuberant side.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 8, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    Dhoni's pathetic captaincy is there for everyone to see. Take off Shami so that Rohit can roll his arm over! Seriously? Dhoni is a pathetic captain.

  • AvidCricFan on February 8, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    If India had bowled and fielded with the same level of intensity in the first innings, the match would have looked completely different. Shami was under bowled. He deserved five-for. I will take Zaheer's assessment of Shami getting better with time with a big pinch of salt. That has not proved true for most Indian pace bowlers including Ishant Sharma. I wish Shami breaks that jinx. With his 9 wicket haul, he will be persisted for another 10 matches and may make comeback in the ODIs. This is unfortunate. A lot will depend on how Pujara and Kohli bat tomorrow. Whatever Dhawan adds to his tally tomorrow will be bonus.

  • thunda.masala on February 8, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    A point to note is that setting an uncharacteristically attacking field by Dhoni might have sent a message of trust to his bowlers. I hope that they have started to believe in themselves.

  • on February 8, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    @vrkp : I did say he should have bowled jadeja.... and against ironically jadeja provided a stumping opportunity in 41st over... but yes he should have bowled shami along with jadeja... but you know dhoni does things like that... they often yield results... not that I encourage such mistakes.... but he does his way...

  • vrkp on February 8, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    @Vishwas Reddy: I thought the same (to change bowler's end). But two things happened.

    1. He should have tried Jadeja instead of Rohit as Jadeja was bowling really well. 2. He actually didn't change the end of Shami.

    here is the over sequence:

    over 38 -Ishant bowls Over 39 - Rohit bowls Over 40 - Ishant bowls (if it was to change the end then Shami should have bowled Over 41- Jadeja Over 42- Ishant

    What Dhoni did was totally weird but luckily it didn't cost india much. As someone said this may be because Dhoni wanted his favourite Ishant to take the last wkt.

  • on February 8, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    Lot of commentators have already mentioned about Dhoni's captaincy. I do believe it is time to drop Dhoni as a captain from tests and let him focus on 1 day and t20 where he is brilliant. Question is who takes the reins from him in tests. Virat is the only other mainstay and he looks to be capable and hungry.

  • dnsvija on February 8, 2014, 15:41 GMT

    Indians facing short pitched balls is not same as English/Ausie/SA/NZ batsmen. They can handle short pitched easily particularly from Indian who generally cannot touch 135kmph. So the best option is to pitch fuller and if at all they want to bowl...they should bowl the short pitched stuff once in 5-6 overs...At last some rewards for some good bowling....

  • Collegefastbowler on February 8, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    I have a theory that Dhoni does not want to keep wickets to the faster bowlers like Aaron and Yadav hence the preference for Ishant and Zaheer. Keeping wickets to a fast bowler over two innings is a lot and can leave you with painful hands which would affect your batting. From Dhoni's point of view he would like to preserve his hands to do his batting.

  • on February 8, 2014, 14:46 GMT

    the key in overseas bowling condition is to bowl a lot of balls in the 4-6 meters areas.... that is an awkward length...you are giving ball more time in the air to swing... that's what has been missing in last England series.... Praveen Kumar was doing that but his pace was too low to be effective....when you have a pace you must not be afraid of pitching it up to the batsmen and more importantly dhoni must stand a yard up to rhe stumps....lot.of edges were dropping short...

  • cric_fan123 on February 8, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    NZ would have been in a similar position even in the first innings had India held on to their chances. That was not to be. Once you drop catches and then get frustrated by it, you can never win

  • Nampally on February 8, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    An inspired Jadeja + Shami gave India a chance not only to stay in the Test match but to have a fighting chance to win. Firstly, McCullum's failure to enforce follow-on back fired! Jadeja pulled out 2 amazing catches- one a bullet & other a brilliant diving low catch inches off the ground. But that was not all. He ran out Mccullum with another brilliant piece of fielding & throw to the bowlers end. Earlier in the day he was like a Lone Ranger with 30*- left stranded- while India collapsed in a heap to 202. Shami was another source if inspiration with a brilliant spell of fast bowling which sent SA crashing to 25 for 5. At this stage had India got one more pacer, India could have crashed NZ for <50. With Shami tiring after nearly 10 over opening spell, India did not have another trump card. Ishant, ZAK & Jadeja polished off the last 5 wkts but 76 more runs were added. Shami & jadeja won the day for India.The stage is set for come from behind WIN- Has India got Patience & discipline?

  • bappcric on February 8, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    "His length was fullER, but he did not overpitch" - that's the key. FullER - NOT FULL. When you bowl at 140+, you can allow yourself to bowl fuller occasionally to get WICKETS. There is a huge difference between SLOW fuller ball and FAST fuller ball - they are day and night. Ask Waqar.

    Short pitched ball is mostly useless except against fearful/meek/cowardly batsmen, good-length will get you wickets only if the batsmen make mistakes, but with a fast fullER length ball, a bowler increases his chance of taking wickets many fold.

  • on February 8, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    @Santhosh Kumar and sir_ivor : rohit was given ball to change the.bowling ends of shami and ishant.... there.was bit more bounce from the ends that.shami was bowling... he might have thought ishant will be.more helpful from that end with his height.... but ironically he got Wagner.out through the bouncer from the changed end..... coming to rohit bowling...yea you guys were right... just to change the ends dhoni could have given ball to his main spinner jadeja....this is where dhoni lags in captaincy

  • Sir_Ivor on February 8, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    Excellent observations from Santosh Kumar and IndianInnerEdge.It is always the length combined with variatons that a bowler has for that length,that makes him unplayable.That is what the Indian pace bowlers did today,to bowl a shade fuller without over pitching. As Zaheer says, Shami is the kind of bowler if on a given day he hits the desired length he could be lethal and take wickets in a cluster.It is high praise from someone like Zaheer who has seen it all. I am sure Shami will be a great fast bowler in the years to come.It is also nice that Ishant is bowling fuller and better.He has the inswinger that can make him lethal if he bowls consistently back of a length.But one thing I must say is that i was baffled with Dhoni's end strategy when he gave the ball to Rohit.New Zealand added 25 runs which would have been denied but for Dhoni's pathetic captaincy.If there is no further rain and it remains sunny like today India has a chance. Not if it rains because the wicket gets juicy.

  • on February 8, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    Good fightback by India. All Indian fans should be grateful to Brendon McCullum for his stupid decision for not putting India on follow on, now India should accept this match as a gift from Kiwi captain and teach him a good lesson.

  • on February 8, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    At least for today's performance, Ravi Jadeja deserved the knighthood, Sir!

  • on February 8, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    Dhonis has always been an incompetent captain.

  • Akshaypvsureshan on February 8, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    i think if the indian batting order show their responsibility we have a good victory over KIWIES

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    In the 2nd over after tea break, Shami hit Wagner on helmet when score was 80 odd for 9. What does Dhoni do next over, take Shami off & give the ball to Rohit. I really do not understand. Does any one of you see any logic in this???

  • IndianInnerEdge on February 8, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    The main thing and difference was the L E N G T H.....the length that the seamers bowled, a tad fuller.....pity that it took so long to understand but better late than never.....hopefully MSD keeps himself and his slip fielders a few steps closer to the bat from now on....have seen so many chances drop short on the rare occasions that our pacers produce the chances, hopefully this should improve....all in all a tigerish show from our pacemen, we should be proud of this.....GO INDIA.....!

  • blthndr on February 8, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Once in a blue moon...........

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    ishant took more wickets in this match [9] than shami and jadeja combined [6] and still cant get a mention..amazing.

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    Their efforts should not go waste. Its upto the Indian top order as every thing depends on how they negotiate the first session tomorrow.

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    Very very disappointing performance by NZ...... greatest ever fightback by india in the history of test cricket.........

  • jango_moh on February 8, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    excellent bowling and fielding from india.... ishant also bowled very well, and surely deservers a mention!!! go india!!!

  • on February 8, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    One of those brilliant days! Wish we had woken up in the first innings and hope from here on, we are always woken up when we take the field!

  • SanjivAwesome on February 8, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Did they go there to sleep? The game is very much NZ's on a helpful pitch.

  • on February 8, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    people.always criticize jadeja but for me he is a very good fighter.... he is the best fielder in ndia right now..... shami was extremely unlucky in first innings,..... great to see our combined bowling and fielding unit.... hope this last long and not just once in a blue moon performance

  • on February 8, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Yes, they finally woken up

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  • on February 8, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Yes, they finally woken up

  • on February 8, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    people.always criticize jadeja but for me he is a very good fighter.... he is the best fielder in ndia right now..... shami was extremely unlucky in first innings,..... great to see our combined bowling and fielding unit.... hope this last long and not just once in a blue moon performance

  • SanjivAwesome on February 8, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Did they go there to sleep? The game is very much NZ's on a helpful pitch.

  • on February 8, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    One of those brilliant days! Wish we had woken up in the first innings and hope from here on, we are always woken up when we take the field!

  • jango_moh on February 8, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    excellent bowling and fielding from india.... ishant also bowled very well, and surely deservers a mention!!! go india!!!

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    Very very disappointing performance by NZ...... greatest ever fightback by india in the history of test cricket.........

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    Their efforts should not go waste. Its upto the Indian top order as every thing depends on how they negotiate the first session tomorrow.

  • on February 8, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    ishant took more wickets in this match [9] than shami and jadeja combined [6] and still cant get a mention..amazing.

  • blthndr on February 8, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Once in a blue moon...........

  • IndianInnerEdge on February 8, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    The main thing and difference was the L E N G T H.....the length that the seamers bowled, a tad fuller.....pity that it took so long to understand but better late than never.....hopefully MSD keeps himself and his slip fielders a few steps closer to the bat from now on....have seen so many chances drop short on the rare occasions that our pacers produce the chances, hopefully this should improve....all in all a tigerish show from our pacemen, we should be proud of this.....GO INDIA.....!