New Zealand managed to exploit the chinks in the Indian armoury and thanks to some composed batting by Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, coupled with Trent Boult's brilliance, won the first game at the Wankhede. Bad decisions and top order changes put a halt to India's magnificent home run.
Trent Boult wrecks havoc, as expected
Since Zaheer Khan's exit from the international scene, India
Kohli and Karthik defy odds with consummate ease
Returning to the ODI squad after missing the Australia series, Shikhar Dhawan got going straightaway, executing a straight drive for a couple and cover drive for a four off Tim Southee in the opening over, but after a very short period of time, it was evident that the game was not going to be an easy one for the batters going forward. Vindicating that, Boult picked up two in-form openers' wicket in the first powerplay, reducing India to 37/2 at the end of 10 overs. After that, to tackle the most challenging bowling line-up India have come across in One-day Internationals in recent months, on a wicket behaving totally opposite to its usual nature, all that was needed was patience and the duo of Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik applied themselves brilliantly. While Karthik took the driver's seat, taking the odd risk, Kohli didn't even try to hit a boundary given his counterpart had placed a wide slip to cut the dabbed single, the short midwicket to block his clip. Living up to his lofty standard, Kohli showed immaculate game awareness and tried to pick the singles on offer from the leg-side gaps. Also, before reaching his 31st century, Kohli was not at his fluent best, suffering from a strain, but thanks to the inhuman fitness level, he managed to hang around until the 50th over of the innings - a total of 46 overs on the crease.
Why not, Jadhav?
New Zealand's struggle against spinners is not unknown to anyone and India didn't have to roll back too much to reach out to the footage of their recent performances against them, having played them at a similar time last year. But every now and then, the Kiwis had one or two batsmen, who could play the spinners with effortless ease. In the build-up to the series, many players including Tom Latham, the visitors' best batsman last year, Ross Taylor and coach Mike Hesson talked about the importance of facing in-form Indian spinners. However, the Indian skipper didn't test them much by not introducing the part-timer Kedar Jadhav to the attack. With an easy, repeatable action, decent loop, and most importantly the ability to land deliveries in half decent areas made Jadhav a bankable spinner as the batsman tried to take chances against him, which more often than not reaped rich dividends. So, while Kuldeep was going for runs, Kohli could have resorted to Jadhav for an over at least in a bid to break the partnership. On the flip side, it also went against India's plans as Kohli had to throw the ball to the duo of Kumar and Bumrah even before the slog overs arrived.
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