Ruthless New Zealand beats India, completes series whitewash

New Zealand came up with a dominating show to beat India by seven wickets and win the Test series 2-0 at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Members of the New Zealand cricket team strike a pose with the trophy after defeating India in the second Test on Monday.   -  AP

The rout was complete. The Indians had nowhere to hide at the Hagley Oval.

Outplayed in both skill and strategy by the New Zealanders, the Indians seemed to be looking for the earliest flight to catch home.

New Zealand, clinical with its end-game skills and winning the key moments of the game, won the second Test by a whopping seven wickets and swept the series 2-0 on Monday, only the third day of the Test.

The exciting Kyle Jamieson was Man of the Match and that ace of swing, Tim Southee, Player of the series.

India added only 34 runs for its last four wickets in the morning - the late order fightback remained an illusion - and a target of 132 was hardly going to stretch New Zealand.

New Zealand beats India by 7 wickets, clinches series 2-0  

Kane Williamson’s men also picked up 120 points from the series. New Zealand, in all, has 180 points while India stays on 360. 

Save Jasprit Bumrah after lunch, when he fired out Kane Williamson with a mean lifter which the Kiwi captain fended to the cordon, and then send down the pacy off-cutter that accounted for the attractive Tony Blundell (55), the Indian attack did not appear threatening.

Tim Southee and Virat Kohli share a light moment after New Zealand won the Test series.   -  REUTERS

 

The fluent left-hander, Tom Latham (52), was the only other wicket to fall, well caught by a leaping Rishabh Pant as he attempted to pull Umesh Yadav.

New Zealand’s opening pair of Latham and Blundell played with a right blend of offence and defence under a cloud cover, with a stiff wind blowing across the ground.

The duo’s 103-run opening partnership settled the issue.

Blundell crouches in his stance but if the ball is pitched short, he can quickly stand tall and drive the sphere to the cover fence. A fine back-foot player, he was airborne as he punched Umesh through point and rose on his toes to strike Mohammed Shami between point and cover.

The opener with a rather high backlift also on-drove Shami - who bowled despite a “batting impact injury” - and gloriously cover-drove Bumrah to the fence.

At the other end, the left-handed Tom Latham collected runs with typical efficiency. He timed Bumrah to the cover fence, the ball meeting the sweet spot in the willow.

After lunch, Latham pulled and hooked short-pitched offerings from Umesh. The Kiwi innings was galloping along.

Latham is a compact organised player whose footwork and strokeplay are dictated by the length of the ball. His back-lift is measured and there are occasions when his boundaries are just an extension of a defensive push.

In the morning, the Indians had to build partnerships, see through the first hour. They didn’t.

Trent Boult, who had bowled magnificently in this innings with his left-armer’s angle and precision in his swing, and Tim Southee teamed up again.

Wickets continued to tumble. Hanuma Vihari was a tad unlucky, though, attempting to work Tim Southee fine only to see keeper B.J. Watling fling himself to his left and come up with the ball.

Then Rishabh Pant perished to a tame push as Trent Boult angled one across the left-hander. Picked more for the X-factor in his batting than ‘keeping in the eleven, India needed Pant to go after the bowling instead of coming up with ‘nothing’ shots.

Mohammed Shami at least freed his arms. He was held at deep square-leg off Southee.

It was left to Ravindra Jadeja, that wonderful athlete, to launch into the bowling. He did just that.

A natural striker of the ball, the left-hander waded into Boult striking a full length delivery straight over the bowler’s head for a six. He then struck the left-armer cleanly past mid-on to the ropes.

But then, things have not been going right for India in the series. And sure enough, a mix-up with Jadeja saw Bumrah being run out.

The Indians ran out of gas.

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