Buoyed by the win in their 500th Test at Kanpur, India went into the Kolkata Test, their 250th at home, hoping to achieve another comprehensive victory over New Zealand. And after four days of hard-fought cricket, the home side once again prevailed over the Kiwis, winning the game by a big margin of 176 runs.
The match did not start well for India, as they were reduced to 239 for seven at the end of the first day. But some stoic batting from Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha took them to 316.
The Kiwis’ reply was cut short by a superb spell of swing bowling by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took a five-for. The 26-year-old helped dismiss the visitors for a mere 204, giving India a crucial lead of 112.
India, in their second innings, found themselves in a spot of bother before a fine partnership between Rohit Sharma and Saha gave them a lead of 375. That in turn set New Zealand a target of 376, something which had never been achieved before at Eden Gardens.
Chasing a big total, New Zealand were found wanting against the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, as well as the reverse swing of Mohammed Shami. They got all out for 197, handing India the win and also the No. 1 Test ranking.
The Kolkata Test saw quality cricket from both sides, with some excellent individual performances. Let’s take a look at the five best ones, including that of Bhuvneshwar Kumar - who was adjudged the Jana Bankable Player of the match.
#5 Rohit Sharma
1st Innings: 2 (12)
2nd Innings: 82 (132), 9 fours, 2 sixes
After being scrutinised from all corners for not being able to convert his talent into big scores in Tests, Rohit Sharma finally came good as he made a crucial 82 for India in the second innings. He, alongside Saha, put on an extremely vital stand of 103 for the seventh wicket, taking India’s lead well beyond New Zealand’s reach.
Rohit looked like a man in control throughout his innings, patiently playing out the good deliveries and confidently hitting the bad ones to the boundary. He was particularly harsh on the spin of Jeetan Patel, striking at over a hundred against the spinner.
Throughout the innings, Rohit favoured the off-side, dispatching the over-pitched balls to the cover region with ease.