A Ravichandran Ashwin inspired India trounced New Zealand 3-0 to end a disappointing tour for the Kiwis. In the wake of a 475 run target, New Zealand chose to attack their way out of trouble rather than going into a shell, like South Africa decided in a similar situation in Delhi a few months ago.
The South Africans ultimately did not succeed in their attempt to tire out India's bowlers with their blockathon. But what they did do was win many hearts by making India toil for 143.1 overs in order to bowl them out. New Zealand, to be fair, have given India a harder time on this tour until now than South Africa did in theirs.
But this approach signified everything that New Zealand did wrong on this tour and in spite of a similar 3-0 loss, South Africa walked away with much more respect than this Kiwi side did. The difference was in the fight.
Also read: India vs New Zealand 2016: Hits and Misses
An old saying by Mark Twain goes like this 'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.' What New Zealand lacked was precisely this. They had the squad, they had the right players, they even brought in the right replacements. But what all of them failed to do was fight it out.
Their plan was evident right from the tour game where Kane Williamson, the pillar of their batting, scored a 56 ball 50, stepping out to the spinners and keeping the scorecard ticking. Luke Ronchi opened and bettered the feat by scoring a run a ball hundred with three maximums. It was a carefree approach. While it was possibly the right way to think, the implementation came apart right from the first Test.
In spite of possessing one of the strongest outfits to tour India of late, the Kiwis collapsed like a pack of cards. They were often left in shock or trying too hard rather than sticking to the basics.
In the wake of one heavy defeat and a heartbreaking 3-0 loss, let us analyse where New Zealand got it wrong.
#5 Wayward pace bowlers
While it could be argued that the pitches in India are as dry and dusty as they come, there is no excuse for New Zealand fast bowlers’ wayward lines. Be it Boult or Wagner or Henry, none of them consistently hit the right lines or thought differently.
One vital weapon you need to win in India is reverse swing. Dale Steyn had it in Nagpur 2010. James Anderson had it in Kolkata 2012. For New Zealand of 2016, though, this had gone totally missing.
Unfortunately for New Zealand, they could not get the ball changed any time during the series to extract reverse swing. India had the ball changed in the 47th over in Kanpur, and Mohammad Shami made full use of it. Although New Zealand requested for a ball change, it was denied. In such wet conditions, you need smart fieldsmen drying up the ball by scuffing up against their pants. New Zealand did none of that well.