India v New Zealand First Test: Tourists hang in there for hard-fought draw 

Indian team celebrating the draw against New Zealand in the first test game
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Betting Expert, James Pacheco

Updated 30/11/2021

Categories: News

In a classic Day Five Test match scenario where New Zealand were battling to save the draw with just one wicket left and the light fading, that’s exactly what they managed.

It will feel like a victory for the tourists and almost a defeat for India after what was an enthralling five days.

New Zealand batsmen hang tough

Rachin Ravindra won’t forget his Test debut in a hurry. Chalked to come in at seven but batting at eight after New Zealand played Will Somerville as a nightwatchman late on Day 4, he survived 91 balls for his somewhat irrelevant 18.

With a New Zealand win out of the equation, it wasn’t the runs he scored but rather the time and balls he ate up that made his knock so vital.

Supporting him was number 11 Ajaz Patel who scored two off 23 balls as he too, did his bit.

But credit should also go to a trio of New Zealand batters who all saw off 100+ deliveries to make sure they got something from the game.

All of Tom Latham (52 runs), Somerville (36) and Kane Williamson (112) made important contributions.

Indian spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja walked away with three and four wickets respectively in the fourth innings, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Did Rahane declare too late?

In the end the bad light came to New Zealand’s rescue. To an extent.

To an extent because there was less than 10 minutes left in the day when it was called off and Ravindra actually looked pretty comfortable at the time, though Ajaz Patel at the other end is a genuine Number 11.

Every time a team hangs on for a draw with just one or two wickets in hand,  the question is asked: did the opposing captain declare too late?

In the defence of Ajinkya Rahane, the stand-in captain, probably not.

He gave his bowlers just over a day to get 10 wickets- nine to be precise, as they took one very late on Day Four-  and that could well have been enough.

Credit must go to the tourists for being so resolute in defence.

Rahane will also have been aware of how over the past year or two, sides have actually managed to chase improbable totals and win the game in quite a few Test matches.

Meaning that had he declared with 20 or 30 runs less on the board, New Zealand may have had a proper chance at chasing their total down.

Having said that, maybe W Saha and Axar Patel could have been a bit more aggressive when batting late on Day Four.

Saha scored 61 off 126 and Patel 28 off 67. Not bad strike rates in normal circumstances but when they still had wickets in hand and a big lead, maybe they could have scored their runs quicker.

One to think about another day.

It was good news for us by the way because the draw means we get our money back from our New Zealand Draw/No Bet wager. 

If India had won, we would have lost our stake rather than getting it back.

Iyer dream’s debut and Kohli’s return

India’s trio of spinners can be proud of their work. Both with ball and bat.

Ashwin took six wickets in the game plus 60 runs, Axar Patel took six wickets and Jadeja claimed five to go with a first-innings 50.

But man-of-the-match was debutant Shreyas Iyer. He scored 105 in the first innings and 65 the second time round to make sure India were never going to lose the match.

The return of skipper Virat Kohli for the Second Test in Mumbai may give the selectors a bit of a headache.

They can’t drop Iyer after his performance, nor will they want to be without vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.

The options are therefore to play Kohli instead of Chet Pujara- who had a quiet game but has been their rock for years on end- or to play one less spin bowler.

That could be Patel or Ashwin but both played pretty well in the First Test.

The only other alternative would be to just play the one seamer but that’s somewhat unlikely.

The Second Test starts on Friday in Mumbai and we’ll have a full preview right here.