For a brief period during the first Test, India would have felt the jitters. Tom Latham and Kane Williamson added 124 for the second wicket in the first innings and that too in a decent 41 overs. Both made half-centuries and more importantly, looked composed, halfway through to the Indian first innings score. And then, it all changed.
Latham was trapped LBW, Ross Taylor was caught napping in front of the stumps by a quicker delivery from Jadeja that didn’t turn and Kane Williamson couldn’t keep a scintillating delivery from Ashwin out as it spun back sharply and broke his defence and crashed into the stumps. From 159 for 1 in the 52nd over, New Zealand were 170 for 4 in the 56th over.
Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, and BJ Watling tried to steady the ship but in the end, their contributions didn’t prove enough as New Zealand conceded a substantial 56 run lead to India. They were never in the game after Williamson’s wicket. They have a short turnaround time to alter their fortunes. They didn’t do too many things wrong, mind you. But a few tweaks and fixes could definitely be made to the way they approach the second Test that starts at Eden Gardens on September 30th.
#1 Ross Taylor needs to fire
For a very long time, Ross Taylor was New Zealand’s best batsman. His thunder got stolen a little bit by Brendon McCullum and then by Kane Williamson. Still, if New Zealand have to post any challenge against India in their own den, Taylor needs to score. He came to India in good form but had two short innings; the first one lasted two deliveries.
The second time he had his eye in, having scored 17 off 36 balls, but gifted his wicket to the Indians, getting run-out not grounding his bat despite being inside the crease – one of the most unpardonable sins on a cricket ground. That showed, more than anything else, the lack of match awareness and a lackadaisical attitude that needs to be shelved. Williamson cannot do it alone, no matter how much quality has been packed in that tender figure of his. New Zealand need Guptill and Taylor to chip in.