India wins series against NZ, but...

On the face of it, India have won the Test series against New Zealand 2-0 – the first Test by an innings and 115 runs at Hyderabad and the second by five wickets at Bangalore. Comfortable.

But is that so? Yes, the series win should be celebrated, but the eight days of Test cricket have also left behind some questions before Indians don flannels again in November against England for a four-match series.

First let’s take a peep at the positives. Cheteshwar Pujara made a hundred in the first Test and showed his readiness to take the mantle from Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli continued to assert his growing stature as an all-format batsman, while the spin twins – R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha – underscored their destructive ability on Indian pitches.

But there is a flip side as well, and to find that out, you need to go a bit deeper. The form of openers – Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir – remained a big concern, and such a sub-par outing against a far more competent bowling unit like England can have catastrophic consequences. They need to find a way to score some big runs once England lands in the Indian sub-continent and India’s fortunes in that series will be dependent on that.

Sachin Tendulkar, too, can’t hide away from his failures in this series, getting clean bowled in all three innings, against Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee. The mastero will need a substantial effort in the next series to prove that age has not slowed down his reflexes.

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