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India vs New Zealand, 1st Test: Rachin Ravindra’s heroics and other talking points from Day 5

The first Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur ended in a draw after bad light forced early stumps on Day 5. New Zealand managed 165-9 at stumps with debutant Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel out in the middle. On the last day of the Test, New Zealand needed 280 runs to win and India needed nine wickets, but neither of the two could do it. New Zealand were nine wickets down and were staring at defeat but a 52-ball stand for the final wicket helped them avert a loss. Let us take a look at all the big talking points from the final day’s play between the No. 1 and 2 Test teams in the world.

Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel play out 52 balls

New Zealand lost their ninth wicket with 8.4 overs still remaining, and a loss seemed unavoidable. They were 155 for the loss of nine wickets when Ravindra Jadeja sent back Tim Southee, after which Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel denied India a victory by playing out 52 balls. The left-handed duo played out all the deliveries bowled to them by the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja to take New Zealand to a thrilling victory. Earlier in the game, both Ravindra and Patel had not performed up to the mark with the ball, managing just three wickets between them. But they made up for it with the bat. While debutant Ravindra scored 18 off 91, Patel managed two off 23.

Ross Taylor given ‘Benefit of Doubt’

Ross Taylor survived a close stumping call off Ashwin’s bowling, and many believe that the veteran batter was out. Taylor tried to flick a fuller delivery bowled to him by Ashwin, but the ball was at a distance from him and wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat quickly removed the bails of the stumps. The decision went upstairs, and Taylor was given a not out. However, replays showed that just when Bharat dislodged the bails, Taylor’s back foot was in the air. It seemed like a difficult call to make and the umpire probably gave the batter the benefit of doubt. Former Australian cricketer wrote on Twitter that Taylor was ‘lucky’ to survive the stumping and enjoyed the benefit of doubt. However, Taylor was soon later dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja for two runs.

William Somerville survives 110 balls

Nightwatchman William Somerville showed excellent resistance by playing out 110 balls and was well supported by Tom Latham from the other end. On day four, the tail-ender surprisingly walked out to bat after the wicket of Will Young and was not expected by many to put up such a valiant show. He scored 36 off 110 balls before being sent back by Umesh Yadav.

Shreyas Iyer named the Player of the Match

With KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli absent from the game, Shreyas Iyer was handed a Test debut. The batter, who is among Mumbai Cricket’s most prolific batters, scored a fine century in the first innings, and a half-century in the second. Iyer, the 16th Indian cricketer to hit a century on Test debut and the first-ever Indian cricketer to smash a hundred and a fifty on Test debut, was awarded the Player of the Match award. Iyer is now the 7th Indian cricketer to be named Player of the Match on Test debut. The last player was Prithvi Shaw; he won the award against West Indies in Rajkot in 2018. After being named Player of the Match, Iyer said that India winning the match would have been an icing on the cake.

India’s spinners make most of the Kanpur surface

India’s strong spin attack made most of the conditions on offer in Kanpur. Ravi Ashwin picked up six wickets, Ravindra Jadeja five and Axar Patel six. On day five, it was Jadeja who was the top performer with the bat. He picked up the important wickets of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, before sending back Kylie Jamieson and Tim Southee. Earlier in the day, Ashwin provided a crucial breakthrough by sending back Tom Latham. The off-spinner now has 419 wickets in Tests, which makes him the third highest wicket-taker for India in the longest format. Ashwin went past Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 417 when he sent back Latham. Interestingly, Ashwin is now also India’s highest wicket-taker against New Zealand in Tests with 58 wickets, going past Bishan Singh Bedi’s 57.

An impressive unbeaten streak for New Zealand

New Zealand, champions of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, have not lost any of the last 10 Test matches that they have played. This includes eight wins and two draws.

Also read: Host countries announced for all ICC events played between 2024 and 2031

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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