IND vs NZ, 1st Test: Sunil Gavaskar critical of New Zealand’s “timid batting” on Day 5 at Kanpur

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (Photo: Blackcaps Twitter)
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (Photo: Blackcaps Twitter)

Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar believes that New Zealand’s “timid batting” approach helped India stage a comeback in the second session of the final day of the Kanpur Test that ended in a thrilling draw.

Chasing 284, New Zealand were 79 for one at lunch on Day Five, with Tom Latham and night-watchman Will Somerville well set for a positive chase.

As wickets fell, New Zealand dropped anchors, and wickets continued to tumble before Rachin Ravindra, and No.11 Ajaz Patel survived almost nine overs to sneak out a draw.

“New Zealand managed to hold on by the skin of their teeth at Kanpur. Their timid batting after a terrific first session on the final day brought India back into the game, and once they started to get wickets in the second session, they simply piled on more pressure as they realised that the visitors were only keen on survival and not looking for a victory," wrote Sunil Gavaskar.
“At lunchtime, Rahane and Dravid would have been a touch worried, for Latham and Somerville had set up a perfect platform for the following batsmen to play their normal game and take New Zealand home. Somerville fell to the first ball after lunch when Shubman Gill took a terrific catch running hard and diving forward,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his Times of India column.

Questioning New Zealand’s approach from the second session, Sunil Gavaskar noted that though the surface was playing its tricks, the Kanpur track on Day Five wasn’t an impossible surface to bat on.

“New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson danced down the pitch and lofted the spinner over his head for a boundary, it looked as if New Zealand were going to look for a win. Then, inexplicably, the shutters were pulled down, and all that it did was allow Rahane to keep men in catching positions. The pitch on Day Five was not a bad one to bat on, as the first session had shown. Yes, the odd ball was going to turn and maybe even bounce a bit more, or even scoot along the ground, but it was not an impossible one to bat on,” Sunil Gavaskar added.
Only the third time India stranded one wicket away from a Test win:vs West Indies, Kolkata 1978-79vs West Indies, St John's 2006vs New Zealand, Kanpur 2021#INDvNZ

WTC final positions at stake for India and New Zealand: Sunil Gavaskar

The World Test Championship (WTC) has further placed more importance on every Test that’s contested by the big teams. India and New Zealand were WTC finalists in the inaugural edition for the 2019-21 cycle that the latter ended up winning at Southampton earlier this year.

Sunil Gavaskar stated that both New Zealand and India, currently ranked No.2 and No.1 respectively, will eye the final spot again. Therefore, the shared points from the Kanpur Test will make a difference to their standings.

“There is a place in the finals of the World Test Championships at stake for both these finalists, and so sharing the points will certainly make a difference as the series goes on,” noted Sunil Gavaskar.

The second Test of the series starts on Friday, December 3, in Mumbai.

Here's how the teams stack up in the #WTC23 standings after that thrilling draw between India and New Zealand in Kanpur 👀

Edited by Parimal
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