India’s unnecessary delay in declaring their second innings proved to be costly as the Kiwis escaped the Wellington Test with a draw thanks to rain. India in the end was short of around 30 minutes of play as they needed just two more wickets to take. Although this test ended in a draw, it was still a historic series win of 1-0 for India, defeating New Zealand in New Zealand after a gap of 41 years.
Morning Session: India close in to victory
Requiring to take six more wickets to take for a victory, India started off on a bad note with the overnight pair of Ross Taylor and James Franklin putting up a decent fight. The first hour went by safely for the Kiwis and Ross Taylor after drinks brought up his century. As expected the young man lost his concentration having gone past the milestone as he completely played all around a full delivery from Harbhajan Singh to be clean bowled. Ross Taylor (107 from 165 balls with 16 fours) was cleaned up from round the sticks as he yorked himself to a well flighted delivery that drifted away and spun in beautifully. The Taylor-Franklin partnership defied India for more than 36 overs.
India didn’t have to wait long for its next breakthrough as Sachin Tendulkar’s rare bowling spell lured Brendon McCullum into an expansive drive only to get beaten by the big turn. Unfortunately for McCullum, the Umpire by mistake ruled that as a catch with the ball ricocheting off Dhoni’s gloves and landing into Dravid’s hands, the noise was created by McCullum’s bat hitting the turf! A couple of overs later, Franklin’s resistance was broken by a sharp leggie from Sachin that caught him plumb in the crease. The all-rounder made 49 from as many as 171 balls (with 7 fours). About three overs later, India got another lucky breakthrough when the Umpire was forced to believe that Tim Southee had nicked a doosra behind the wickets off Harbhajan. Again it was the noise that fooled the umpire, this time it was the bat hitting the pad. The Kiwis went to lunch staring at defeat having lost 8 wickets, the inevitable was just being delayed by Vettori and O’Brien.
Afternoon Session: Rain robs India’s victory
Daniel Vettori and Iain O’Brien did magnificently well to survive just long enough for the rain to rescue their team. Just when the second new ball was taken in the 95th over, rain hit the ground and was too relentless in giving any opportunity for the match to resume. Even if rain had stopped at some point of time, the match was still unlikely to resume because of the fading light. The Kiwis happily ended with a draw having got to a borderline total of 281 for 8. For India, Harbhajan Singh was wonderful with his 4 for 59 in 33 overs. Sachin Tendulkar came as a surprise and the little master tried his best to bowl like Shane Warne! The Man of the Match and the Player of the Series both went to Gautam Gambhir.