India back to top of rankings after victory over NZ
KOLKATA, India (AP) — New Zealand collapsed to 197 all out on day four of the second test against India in Kolkata, losing the match by 178 runs.
The hosts have now taken an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the three-match series and also regained the ICC world no.1 Test ranking, moving ahead of Pakistan.
Spinners Ravichandran Aswhin (3-82) and Ravindra Jadeja (3-41) took three wickets apiece, while pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-28) and Mohammed Shami (3-46) also chipped in. The Black Caps lost 7-62 and collapsed in the final session.
With this win, Virat Kohli has now led India on an unbeaten streak of 12 tests, stretching to Sri Lanka last year. It augurs well for the Indian team that they have won the first two tests of a long home season, with upcoming challenges against England and Australia.
“We just want to win every game we play. It doesn’t mean that we take the foot off the pedal in Indore (third test starting October 7). We don’t drop intensity there, and we don’t drop our character or our vision to win a Test match for the country,” said Kohli.
Chasing an improbable 376, New Zealand reached 135-3 at tea with opener Tom Latham (74) scoring his ninth test fifty. He put on 49 runs with Henry Nicholls (24), but the floodgates opened after the break when Ashwin dismissed Latham.
Bowling with the crowd at his back, Shami then struck a double blow, trapping Mitchell Santner leg before and then bowling BJ Watling with an outswinger.
The writing was on the wall when Luke Ronchi (32) played on off Jadeja, who also accounted for Matt Henry (18) with Kohli plucking a sharp catch at short cover.
With two hapless batting performances in two innings here in Kolkata, it is clear that New Zealand missed their captain and best batsman, Kane Williamson, who sat out the match owing to flu.
“Anytime you have your skipper and best player out is disappointing but you cannot rely on Kane all the time. The team has to step up,” said stand-in skipper Ross Taylor. “376 was always tough but the bowlers fought throughout and that’s something we can take to Indore. It was pretty hot and humid out there. I liked the way they kept trucking in asking for the ball and the hostility they bowled with sometimes.”
Earlier in the day, Wriddhiman Saha scored his second fifty of the match, and his fourth test half-century overall. He put on 36 runs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (23(asterisk)) as the Indian tail once again frustrated the Black Caps, taking India to a second innings total of 236.
Saha, the wicketkeeper-batsman, was declared the man-of-the-match for his efforts.
“He’s the best keeper in the country, and he’s doing a great job in Test cricket. The hundred in West Indies really improved his confidence. I wish him well to keep going,” said Kohli.