Fifties in both innings from Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja’s five-for in the first innings set up the match and Ravichandran Ashwin’s 10-wicket haul in the match ensured India thrashed New Zealand by 197 runs in the first Test at Kanpur.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, India put on 318 in their first innings thanks to fifties from Vijay and Pujara and a late cameo from Jadeja. In reply, Black Caps got off to a great start but after losing both Tom Latham and Kane Williamson, they crumbled to 262 all out.
That gave India the advantage they were looking for and they made full use of it by declaring with a lead of 433. A world record total was always going to be difficult to overhaul and so it proved as the Kiwis were bowled out for 236 on the final day shortly after lunch.
For his six wickets and 92 runs, Ravindra Jadeja walked away with the Man of the Match. He said: "I am very happy. Before the series started I was thinking that I need play my role as a batsman as well. I was preparing myself as a batsman. Duleep Trophy helped me a lot because I was getting wickets there as well. It gave me confidence as well. I was enjoying my bowling.”
On the strategy employed in the first innings, the all-rounder said: “The ball wasn't turning from the stump line in the first innings, so we were trying to mix the pace. Obviously Ashwin is a very good bowler on slow turning wickets and I would like to congratulate him for 200 wickets. Whenever the wickets wasn't falling, we would discuss strategies. In the first innings when Williamson and Latham were batting, we discussed about the pace to bowl, the angles to bowl. I enjoy bowling with him."
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson admitted that India deserved to win the match. “The boys were positive throughout the match, but credit to India,” he said. “They outplayed us with bat and ball. It was a two session period that the game slipped away from us. Restricting India to 300 odd on a good batting surface was a very good effort, but at the end of the day India were certainly the better team.”
He also reserved special praise for both Santner and Ronchi. He added: “The way Santner applied himself with both bat and ball was impressive and the way Luke Ronchi came back into the side and played with freedom was good to watch. It’s important that the boys recover nicely and we look forward to another challenge in Kolkata.”
Kohli on taking advice from others
Indian captain Virat Kohli said: “The boys applied themselves really well. We were in a spot of bother at times. Initially we had the momentum with the bat, but a couple of soft dismissals put pressure. Jadeja and Ashwin added crucial runs to dig us out. Those 30-40 extra runs make a psychological difference.
Speaking about his captaincy, he said: “I am still pretty early in my captaincy career, I look for advice from people around me. There have been cases where we've gone on one mode and the runs were leaked. One learning that we are taking forward is when wickets aren't coming, we need to be patient.”
“All the sides that are doing well around the world have strong lower-middle orders. The tailenders also contribute. That's one area that we have improved and we need to keep working on because those 30-40 extra runs could prove crucial,” he added about the contribution of tail-enders.
“It's been a very good Test match. When New Zealand were batting well on Day 2, me and Ashwin had a chat about this Test match being an exciting game. We needed to play at our best to win. Credit goes to New Zealand as well. The reason why this game went to the second session on the fifth day was because of the character they showed.”
Here are the reactions from the cricket fraternity:
Meanwhile @ashwinravi99 continues to mint wickets. That machine in his yard is doing double-shifts— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 26, 2016
Congrats @imjadeja on ur match winning performance!! onwards and upwards!!— Robin Aiyuda Uthappa (@robbieuthappa) September 26, 2016
There was plenty of praise that came Jadeja's way as well, Robin Uthappa:
Don't think a lot of people will complain with the choice of @imjadeja as man of the match. He was the "always-there" man for the captain— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 26, 2016