Monday, October 3, 2016

India defeat New Zealand by 178 runs, claim No 1 ranking

KOLKATA: India pulled off a brilliant all-round performance to trounce New Zealand by 178 runs in the second Test in Kolkata on Monday, clinching the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead. The victory also propelled them to the top of the ICC rankings, dethroning arch-rivals Pakistan.

Virat Kohli’s men wrapped up the series-deciding victory on the fFourth day of the match after setting the Black Caps a mammoth target of 376 runs to chase.

The visitors showed some spark to start with but their chase floundered in the post-tea session and the side was bowled out for 197 in 81.1 overs in what was India’s 250th home Test.

The hosts had earlier finished its second innings at 263 in 76.5 overs.

Following Rohit Sharma’s 82-run knock on Sunday, Wriddhiman Saha also picked up his second successive half-century of the match by scoring a 120-ball 58, laced with half a dozen fours.

Faced with an improbable chase, New Zealand were off to a confident start before things went downhill in the final session of the day.

Opener Tom Latham top-scored for the Kiwis with a 148-ball 74, which included eight hits to the fence.

His innings gave New Zealand some hope of springing a surprise but offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin put paid to any such eventuality in just the second over after tea, inducing an edge off Latham’s bat which was comfortably taken by wicketkeeper Saha.

Besides Latham, Luke Ronchi was the only one to play an innings of significance, accounting for 32 runs in 60 balls, including four boundaries.

However, the rest of the Black Caps’ line-up failed to apply itself on the tricky track, exploited well by both the pacers and spinners.

Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the top Indian wicket-takers with hauls of 3/82 and 3/41 respectively. Among the pacers, Mohammed Shami grabbed 3/46 in a fine concerted bowling performance.

The two teams will now move to Indore for the third Test starting October 8, which will be followed by a five-match ODI series.

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