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India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test Day 4 – Talking Points

All it took was 45 minutes for the Indian team to wrap up the game on the fourth morning. Only 11.3 overs were bowled as India didn’t need too much time to pick the remaining five wickets in New Zealand’s second innings.

New Zealand started the day on 140/5 and they’ve fought really hard throughout the series. However, they just didn’t turn up with the bat in this Test match and the fourth morning was no different. Jayant Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up the remaining five wickets to give India a memorable Test win and also a series win.

Here are the talking points:

Jayant Yadav runs through the New Zealand lower order to wrap up the game

Jayant Yadav hadn’t played a first-class game for nearly two years. It was February 2020 that he last played red-ball cricket. He had last donned the Indian jersey back in February 2017 in a Test match against Australia. However, he got his opportunity when he was included in the side for the second Test after Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out with a swollen right forearm.

The Haryana off-spinner bowled just bowled a couple of overs in the first innings and he picked up the wicket of Rachin Ravindra. In the second innings, he was a touch inconsistent on the third evening and had conceded 30 runs from the eight overs that he bowled. He did bowl a few peaches but wasn’t regular enough.

It was surprising to see Virat Kohli toss the ball to Yadav in the first over of the fourth day. However, the 31-year-old didn’t disappoint. He altered his length and got a lot more bite from the surface. Yadav ran through the New Zealand lower order and helped India wrap up the game in the first hour of the day.

Yadav first had Ravindra edging to second slip to get his first wicket of this innings. In his following over, he picked up two wickets in the space of three balls. Yadav caught Kyle Jamieson on the crease and had him LBW before knocking over Tim Southee who had a wild swing. Then, William Somerville was out at short-leg to give Yadav his fourth wicket of the innings. Ravichandran Ashwin finished the innings as he had Henry Nicholls stumped to give India a mammoth win.

Wriddhiman Saha steals the limelight with brilliant glovework

There were doubts if Wriddhiman Saha would be fit in time for the second Test as he had a stiff neck which meant he couldn’t keep for most part of that first Test. But the Bengal stumper made it in time and was absolutely magnificent behind the stumps. The ball turned and bounced a lot throughout this Test match and Saha was absolutely spot on with his glovework. There were numerous plays and misses but there was very little that went past Saha. Even on the fourth morning, there were multiple times when the Indian off-spin duo of Jayant Yadav and Ashwin went past the bat and despite being blinded by the batters at times, Saha collected the ball cleanly. He continued to show that he is still one of the best keepers in the world.

14th consecutive Test series win at home for India and their biggest Test win by runs

While has always been a difficult proposition to beat India at home, they have been almost invincible at home in the last decade, especially since Virat Kohli took over as full-time Test captain. There has barely been any team who has even come close to winning a Test match, let alone a Test series in India.

Since the start of 2013, India have lost a mere two Test matches in India – one each against Australia and England. Apart from that, there has been barely a blip and they have won 14 Test series’ in a row, which includes 12 since Kohli took over (11 under Kohli and one under Ajinkya Rahane).

This Test match also saw India record their biggest win in the history of Test cricket in terms of runs. They won by 372 runs and bettered their previous record of 337 runs which was against South Africa in 2015. This was also the seventh instance of India recording a win with 300+ runs in Test cricket and sixth under Kohli.

New Zealand’s win drought in India continues as they lost their 10th Test series on Indian soil (two others were drawn). They have won just two Test matches in India with the last one coming way back in 1988.

Records galore for Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin may not have picked up a five-wicket haul in this series but he was the standout bowler throughout the series for India. He bowled beautifully and continued a wonderful 2021. He went past 50 Test wickets (now his tally reads 52 at the moment) in 2021 and it was the fourth calendar year (2015, 2016, 2017 and now, 2021) when Ashwin recorded that feat which is the most for an Indian player.

Moreover, he reached the 300-wicket mark at home and is only behind Anil Kumble’s tally of 350. His overall wicket tally of 427 wickets is now only behind Kumble’s 619 and Kapil Dev’s 434.

Ashwin picked up 14 wickets in this series at an average of 11.35. With the bat, he scored 78 runs and chipped in with some vital runs in the first Test which bailed India out of trouble. Thus, he was rewarded with the Player of the Series Award. It was the 9th Player of the Series award that Ashwin won which is the joint second-most in the history of Test cricket (Jacques Kallis also has 9), only behind Muttiah Muralitharan’s tally of 11. 

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