India vs New Zealand | How and where India won second ODI in Pune

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India vs New Zealand | How and where India won second ODI in Pune

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Bastab K Parida


India convincingly thrashed New Zealand by six wickets in the second ODI in Pune to level the series 1-1, thanks to some disciplined bowling and sensible batting. India, basically, didn't make the same mistakes that cost them the first match and made sure they played according to their plans.

Latham's one-dimensional technique against spin gets exposed

Tom Latham scored an unbeaten hundred in Mumbai to guide New Zealand to a record-breaking victory. The sweep had been his most productive stroke in that match and that helped him unsettle the Indian wrist spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, from their lengths. So, ahead of the second game, reality struck the Indian team management as they left out Kuldeep for the left-arm orthodox of Axar Patel. The left arm spinner is known to be a flat, stump-to-stump bowler, and therefore not easy to be swept. But Kohli, intelligently, tested Latham's ability to play straighter ones by throwing the ball to Kedar Jadhav first, who hadn't bowled at all in Mumbai. With his round-the-wicket angle and low-arm release, Jadhav either angled the ball into Latham's stumps or occasionally fired one wide of off stump - neither line conducive to the sweep shot due to Jadhav's ability to skid the ball off the surface due to his slingy action. Jadhav's spell inspired Axar to keep a nagging line, which forced the Kiwi batsman to play with a straight bat. Latham seemed to be under pressure completely and once Axar switched to bowl around the wicket, he was deceived.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar gradually becoming a knuckle ball specialist

Mastering the art of bowling knuckle ball is not easy as it requires a lot of time and patience. Unlike the usual slower ball, where the grip is the same a pacer would have while bowling his stock delivery, in the knuckle ball, the bowler uses the tip of the index finger and the middle finger with the thumb providing the base while running in to bowl. So when the bowler basically releases the ball, the tip of the finger works to put up more pace on the delivery and due to the loose grip, the ball comes out much slower. No Indians before Zaheer Khan used the trait with any visible success, but Zaheer used it quite effectively in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka. But of late, to be precise since the IPL, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been mixing the knuckle ball with yorkers and his stock delivery and it has proved to be a success story. And with the change in grip that dramatically changes the pace of the ball, Bhuvneshwar is playing with the rhythm of the batsmen and is not allowing enough scoring lengths. Today, he led the clinical Indian show with a three-wicket haul and dismissed Colin Munro with a brilliant knuckle ball. His other two wickets were just as brilliant as the Munro dismissal and provided the perfect base for his partners to restrict the visitors to a below-par score. 

Indian batsmen intelligently see off 10-20 overs for a late assault

In the first 10 overs, India scored a handsome 64 runs, but in the next 10 overs could manage to score a mere 36 runs. While that can be attributed to some disciplined bowling by Colin de Grandhomme and Adam Milne, it was also worth noting that both Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik decided not to take any unwanted risks after Virat Kohli's dismissal. Again in the evening, with two new balls on offer, it's a lot easier for the batsmen to hit the ball. Although de Grandhomme and Milne both bowled with a lot more variation than others, the Indian duo were unfazed by that and allowed themselves to settle down first and made sure that the hosts never took their foot off the pedal. Once the ball lost its shine and came to the bat easily, they rotated the strike well to help India level the series 1-1. 

Shikhar Dhawan's course correction

Left-arm pace bowling has been Indian openers' Achilles heel for a while now as since the beginning of 2014, Rohit Sharma had been dismissed 12 times while his partner Shikhar Dhawan got out 10 times. So when Boult opened the attack for his team in Mumbai, he put that extra yard ahead of his opponents and got both the openers even before they did settle themselves on the field. But today, the duo were a bit more confident and seemed to be in a mood not to throw their wickets. Dhawan, who was in a very good nick in the Sri Lanka series, picked up Boult's length rather quickly and punished his away-going deliveries without any problem. He was equally at home when facing his inswinging deliveries as he flicked them away and scored 39% runs on the leg-side. The course correction not only gave India an easy victory, it also ensured that Dhawan hasn't lost his ODI mojo after the short break that he took to tend his ailing wife last month.

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