New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 4th day February 9, 2014

New Zealand seamers deliver thrilling win


New Zealand 503 (McCullum 224, Williamson 113, Ishant 6-134) and 105 (Ishant 3-28) beat India 202 (Rohit 72, Wagner 4-64) and 366 (Dhawan 115, Wagner 4-62, Southee 3-81) by 40 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Crowe: NZ pacers showed great character

The New Zealand seamers kept their wits against an Indian side that was hell-bent on achieving the tallest chase in the country and secured a thrilling 40-run win in Auckland. A fourth-innings century from Shikhar Dhawan, a solid 126-run stand between him and Virat Kohli and an unexpected counter from Ravindra Jadeja kept the game alive. But Neil Wagner, menacing in every spell he bowled, picked up four wickets, including Dhawan, Kohli and MS Dhoni, to help New Zealand take a see-saw Test and hand India their 10th overseas defeat in 11 Tests.

India had come within 139 runs of a record win with six wickets in hand when the second new ball was taken. What transpired in the next 16.3 overs was less of cricket and more of a boxing match, with both teams throwing punches and counter-punches to knock each other out.

New Zealand jabbed first. Trent Boult trapped Ajinkya Rahane lbw with the first delivery he bowled with the new ball and Tim Southee lured Rohit Sharma with a perfect outswinger in his first. Rahane had a reason to be peeved with the decision - there was a thick inside edge involved - but within the space of seven balls, New Zealand had control of the match back after a long hard toil. However, India were not going down without a fight.

Jadeja had not done much wrong in the Test and he continued in the same vein with the bat. The first ball he faced was punched down the ground with a shot that oozed class. He even held the pose for a considerable time, appreciating the shot. But that was the only classical shot he played before shifting into Twenty20 mode.

Jadeja drove a length delivery from Southee over mid-on for his second boundary, then came the upper-cut in the same over for his third. In Southee's next over, he charged down the pitch and flat-batted a length ball down the ground. The umpire was lucky that the ball flew past his left. He then launched Boult over long off for another six.

MS Dhoni was playing shots of his own. He smashed four boundaries off Boult and the partnership between the two bulged to 54 in 34 balls, bringing the target down to 83. From what seemed like a boxer throwing blind jabs, upper cuts, hooks and crosses at an opponent while going down, India were managing to do some serious damage.

Jadeja's brief stay ended the way it had lasted as he failed to clear mid-on. In response, Dhoni shunned his aggression. Zaheer Khan, though, threw the bat whenever the bowlers allowed him to free his arms and hit a six and a four in the point region.

Wagner, in his first dig with the new ball, made Zaheer hop with a short of length delivery that the batsman could only edge to first slip. An over later, Dhoni chopped a slower bouncer from the same bowler on to the stumps, effectively ending the match. Boult just provided the final push that brought India crashing down.

The frantic finish was in contrast with the slow build both teams had gone through in the first two sessions. The conditions on the fourth day were markedly different from the third, with the air much drier. It meant that the swing that created problems for the batsmen on the third morning didn't make an appearance for most parts of the day. The only time it did, it was when Southee was in operation.

Southee stuck to impeccable lines and managed to extract just enough movement to put doubts in the batsmen's mind. The one ball that did something extra fetched him the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara in the fifth over of the morning. Bowling from wide of the crease, Southee got the second ball of his third over to lift and seam away appreciably from a length. Pujara, playing from the crease, could only edge it to the wicketkeeper.

Southee then ensured Kohli didn't get an easy start as he bowled 28 consecutive deliveries at the batsman giving away just nine runs.

Meanwhile, Wagner kept the typically aggressive Dhawan quiet at the other end. Dhawan was content on defending everything in line of stumps and left most of the wider deliveries. Only 34 runs were scored in the 14 overs in the first hour of the play. It was almost a case of who would blink first.

The second hour though proved to be a release for the batsmen as Southee, after a spell of 7-3-11-1, tired out. Kohli broke the stalemate with consecutive boundaries off Wagner - a check drive that raced through extra cover followed by a pull on a short delivery that lacked zing. He reached his half-century off 80 balls. Together with Dhawan, Kohli added 126 to bring the target under 200, but had a lapse in concentration as he attempted a pull at a wide Wagner delivery. Wagner, in a tireless 10-over spell with the old ball, made the big strike when he removed Dhawan with a sharp bouncer from round the wicket.

Dhawan had shown remarkable discipline in the morning session and had made slow progress to move into the nineties. Ish Sodhi didn't pose the same threat as the New Zealand seamers and Dhawan used the chance to race to his second century with a six and a four. However, New Zealand chances surged once Dhawan was dismissed. The new ball hastened New Zealand's rush to their first Test win against India in 12 years.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on February 11, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    @abhi and saleem, Pakistan won the T20 WC in England (2009), 2003-04 in NZ Pak won 2 test match series 1-0, 2009-2010 3 test match series drawn 1-1, 2010-2011 Pakistan won 2 test match series 1-0, 2012-2013 Pakistan beat FTBs in their own backyard, in 2013 beat WI in WI, 2013 beat SA in SA which no subcontinent team has achieved and I was so happy that at least Pakistan didn't run away by the fear of playing SA despite loosing the first two series in the same year and didn't curtail the series to loose 2-0 like India did.. If it was a 7 match series as decided, the result could have been 6-0 with one match rained out :-p I'm a cricket lover, I admire good cricket but since the ICC revamp, I want BIG 3 loosing each and every game they play and there would be million others like me sharing my concern. I'd still watch and admire good cricket though despite what my heart might feel. India lost fair and square so just stop bashing other teams and focus on your own threatening failures

  • ESPN on February 11, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    If India stubbornly refuses to use DRS system they cannot complain when they get in the wrong end of an umpiring decision. In the end, the better team emerged victorious.

  • Android on February 10, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    For me the only low spot in a great test match was the virtually empty stadium throughout the match. A city of almost 1.5 million, 2 days over the weekend, not to mention a public holiday, decent weather, exciting fluctuations in fortune during the match, but nobody there to watch. If people won't turn up for a game like that then thet're never going to. Shows how much trouble test cricket must be in, in some countries. Very, very sad.

  • Android on February 10, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    Well said Shane Bond. 1 thing that has really annoyed me is the almost total lack of acknowledgement that Dhoni has made for the NZ team performances throughout the whole tour.

  • Android on February 10, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    @Nampally That's what I said. 3rd innings of NZ was crucial as well, infact all sessions are crucial. Had watling been there, he would have scored at least 20 more to add to the total. Also Anderson got out to a howler, he "could have" scored a century and NZ "would have" gotten to 600+. But that is cricket for you, no could have, would have. And you haven't read my comment as well my friend. I said, no Indian fan was out there when these 2 decisions went against us and when it went in favour of us, you lose your mind. Wagner I again repeat never said he'll run through the line up but you come up with another excuse of "boasting his morale". If Kohli was that good, he "would have" pulled the worst ball of century.

    Hypocricy shouldn't be prevelant in the world's biggest democracy but sadly for a few fans and BCCI, it does.

  • ESPN on February 10, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    So many excuses here from Indian fans. Out played again. Take some humble pie

  • Android on February 10, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    for all those who are upset by the wagner dismissal of dhoni.... it got checked by third umpire that in itself is unjust!!! why was it not done with watlings dismissal??? replay showed clearly that the bowler had overstepped! Umpire's had a bad test all round but both teams had their share of bad calls. dhonis was close call but should not even have been refered at all

  • sateesh on February 9, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    @ for all of those SL and BD fans who is been winging about dhoni complaining about the bad decisions, he did not say that the match is lost just because of those decisions. He was going through the whole 4th innings and the factors that could have been different. In saying that NZ deserved to win the match based on their first innings itself. Although IND put up a fight in the second innings there are quite few disappointing performances from the side. Batting wise for me Rahane and Pujara, a lot of people expected a lot from these two. If the batters could have handled the 1st innings a little better and scored 20 runs and fielders hold on to the catches or saved few more runs the result could have been different.

  • Bhavesh on February 9, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    Undoubtedly Kiwis played better cricket. Dhoni, please always say this in your closing comments apart from the other analysis of our own side. Secondly, Dhoni's own defensive approach cost us the match. If there is any batsman in the squad who can accelerate is Dhoni himself. Not sure why he adopted such defensive approach to ask Jaddu for big shots. Also, isn't Jadeja capable of scoring triples in domestic? All that was required after 6 wickets down was to be a real Dhoni (i.e. captain cool) instead of panicking. Another disappointment in this match was that both Dhawan and Nohit scored a few runs. It means they will be in the 11's for another 15-20 failures.

  • sateesh on February 9, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    What a fantastic game of test cricket. Although finished in 4 days it offered all the emotions as fan could ask for, including boredom at some stage. This match proved again the one session could be the difference between winning or loosing the match. Kudos to Ind for putting up a fight and NZ to throwing everything they have and coming out as winners. There are disappointing aspects or players from both teams but this match offered 3 different formats in 4 days. As an Ind cricket fan am little disappointed but every one knows the first innings made a lot of difference. Ind fielders need to learn to hold on to those chances and bowlers need to maintain the intensity and line and length.