Following an emphatic victory in the first Test at Kanpur, India arrived into the grand old city of Kolkata eagerly anticipating an encore. Skipper Virat Kohli’s luck with the toss continued and he chose to bat first despite a noticeable grass cover as batting last could become as fickle as a lottery. However, the Kiwis took advantage of the early morning moisture to reduce them to 46/3.
As often had been the case for quite some time, their lower-middle order propelled the total beyond the 300-mark through handy partnerships. With the pitch surprisingly assisting seam and swing, the hosts seized the initiative by pulverising the New Zealand batting lineup. Despite a brief stutter in the second innings, India eventually managed to set a daunting target which was more than enough to wrap up a convincing 178-run triumph and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series.
Let us take a look at who did what in the second Test at the iconic Eden Gardens.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 8/10
Having been left out at Kanpur since conditions were perceived to be not too conducive for his style of bowling, Bhuvneshwar produced the most influential spell of this game on a lively surface to leave New Zealand in a massive hole from which they could never really recover.
Wriddhiman Saha – 8/10
Twin half-centuries from the pugnacious wicket-keeper batsman went a long way in helping India take their total beyond the Blackcaps’ reach. Saha remained not out in both innings while maintaining his solid reputation behind the stumps as well.
Mohammed Shami – 7.5
Aside from enhancing his credentials as a reliable proponent of reverse-swing, Shami bowled with searing pace right throughout the contest which should indicate a return to peak fitness as well as herald resplendent times.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 7/10
At a time when all the murmurs regarding his scoring rate had been gaining traction, Pujara’s phlegmatic approach was required badly by the Indians to steady the ship after a top-order collapse. His unflappable temperament enabled him to weather the testing periods of play and wrest back control from the visitors.
Rohit Sharma – 7/10
Under-fire for repeatedly throwing his wicket away at inopportune times, the stylish right-hander showed signs of a change in mindset by holding the home team’s second innings together with a 132-ball 82 to pile on the agony for the Kiwis.
Ajinkya Rahane – 6.5/10
India’s most dependable batsman in Tests over the past couple of years, Rahane stitched together a vital stand with Pujara to slowly shift the momentum in their favour on the opening day. Under tough circumstances, the soft-spoken Mumbaikar‘s characteristic resilience was on display.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 6/10
Amidst doubts surrounding the state of his finger, the off-spinner ended up adding four wickets to his burgeoning tally. The performances of the new-ball bowlers also allowed him to have a much lesser workload when compared to the first match.
Ravindra Jadeja – 6/10
After chipping in with a useful wicket in the first innings, the left-arm spinner enjoyed bowling on the fourth day and subsequently dealt a few significant blows. In the batting department, he did not hang around long enough to create an impact.
Virat Kohli – 5.5/10
Although his captaincy was spot on as always, the 27-year old did not quite assert himself with the bat, courtesy a poor stroke and an unplayable delivery. However, his reasonable start in the second innings might assist him to build something much more concrete in the near future.
Shikhar Dhawan – 4/10
Brought into the eleven due to KL Rahul’s injury, Dhawan failed to grab the opportunity by an underwhelming effort. With the more experienced Gautam Gambhir waiting in the wings, his place could be in danger for the next match.
Murali Vijay – 4/10
With a seam-friendly surface as well as a hungry bowling attack in the offing, the hosts needed Vijay’s calmness at the top of the order. But, the opening batsman could not handle the movement generated by Matt Henry.