India vs New Zealand 2021: 3 takeaways for India from the 1st Test

Ashwin became India's third highest wicket taker in Tests
Ashwin became India's third highest wicket taker in Tests

The first Test between India and New Zealand in the two-match series ended in a hard-fought draw. This was the first time New Zealand drew a Test in India since November 2010.

A draw against a formidable Indian team is a massive achievement for this New Zealand side. India were without some of their regulars but defeating India in India was never easy.

India won the toss and opted to bat first, posting 345 runs in the 1st innings. In response, New Zealand batted quite well, scoring 296.

In the 2nd innings, India declared at 234/7, setting a target of 284 for New Zealand in a little more than one day. New Zealand played out 98 overs (94 of them on Day 5), losing nine wickets.

On that note, let's take a look at the top three takeaways for India from this Test:

#1 Iyer's performance on debut

ICYMI - Dream Start: Shreyas Iyer's impressive century on debut.WATCH 👉… #INDvNZ @Paytm @ShreyasIyer15

Iyer walked into bat on his Test debut with the team in a spot of bother at 106/3. Soon after, Ajinkya Rahane was also dismissed, which meant India were 145/4 at one point on Day 1 after winning the toss. He stitched up a very crucial partnership with Ravindra Jadeja. Iyer termed his hundred as the "biggest achievement of his life."

In the 2nd innings, he again top scored with 65 runs. This made sure that India have enough runs on the board while defending on a Kanpur wicket which wasn't doing a lot for the bowlers.

He showed excellent game awareness for someone on debut. He played out the pace bowlers well and made the most of the spinners who were a little wayward at times. Iyer acknowledged that he had faced similar situations in the Ranji Trophy as well. Instead of being nervous in his first Test, he focused on the process at hand.

#2 Ashwin and Jadeja's all-round skills on display

He is third on the leading wicket-takers list among Indian bowlers now but for @ashwinravi99 it is more about creating special memories than milestones. 🙌 @Paytm #INDvNZ #TeamIndia

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja continue to be India's most valuable assets in subcontinent Tests. Both of them took responsibility as senior members of the team.

Ashwin scored a vital 38 in the first innings, ensuring that India crossed the 300 mark comfortably. He then backed it up with 3/82, taking the wickets of Will Young, Kyle Jamieson and William Somerville.

In the second innings, he again scored an important 32 when India were at 51/5. He added 52 runs for the 6th wicket with Shreyas Iyer. With the ball, he returned with figures of 3/35 in a 30 over spel. He took out both the openers and Tom Blundell. He also crossed Harbhajan Singh's tally of 417 Test wickets for India in this game.

Meanwhile, Jadeja scored a magnificent half-century in the first innings. His partnership with Shreyas Iyer set the tone for a good first innings score. With the ball, he returned with figures of 1/57 & 4/40. He toiled extremely hard on Day 5 and took the big wickets of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson.

#3 India bouncing back strong from tricky situations

New Zealand saw valiant rear-guard action from Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel in the final hour of the match. India failed to convert the last wicket to get the victory.

Except that India bounced back strong from dire scenarios multiple times in the Test. They were 145/4 in the first innings on Day 1, after which Iyer and Jadeja added 121 runs for the fifth wicket. Ashwin also chipped in with a crucial 38 at the back end of the innings as India reached 345.

In New Zealand's first innings, their openers posted a 151 run opening stand. However, the bowlers didn't give up even after such a solid start. The spin trio of Axar, Ashwin and Jadeja managed to reduce them from 197/1 to 296 all-out.

They struggled at 51/5 on Day 4, with the lead being exactly 100. It required another masterclass from debutant Iyer, who made a composed 65. Wriddhiman Saha (61*), Ashwin (32) and Axar (28*) also chipped in with valuable contributions.

On Day 5, India did not get any breakthroughs in the first session. New Zealand looked set to draw the game quite comfortably. However, they picked up three wickets in the second session, getting the experienced Ross Taylor on the stroke of lunch.

Soon after lunch, they also got the big wicket of Kane Williamson. They took five wickets in the final session of the day, coming very close to yet another Test win at home.

Edited by Aditya Singh

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