Shot selection, umpiring errors cost India first Test

Shot selection, umpiring errors cost India first Test

 Shoddy shot selection and a couple of umpiring errors put paid to India’s hopes of notching up a historic win in the first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park here on Sunday.

Chasing a mammoth 407, India started the fourth day on a shaky note, losing Cheteshwar Pujara after adding nine runs to the overnight score of 87 for one. But a 126-run alliance for the third wicket between centurion Shikhar Dhawan (115) and Virat Kohli (67) put India on course for an improbable victory.

However, poor judgment by both batsmen and umpires ensured that India would end up at 366 all out, losing the match by 40 runs.

Incidentally, this was India’s 10th defeat in the last 11 away Tests under MS Dhoni.
Kohli’s half-hearted attempt to pull Neil Wagner, the stand-out New Zealand bowler, resulted in a bottom edge that Bradley Watling gobbled up behind the stumps. Then onwards, India steadily lost wickets, with the shot selection of some of the batsmen leaving a lot to be desired.

While Dhawan got a brute of a ball from Wagner that the left-hander gloved to Watling, both Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja were guilty of throwing their wickets away. Rohit, who looked settled in the middle, returned to the hut in the first ball after tea, edging an away swinger from Tim Southee to the big gloves of Watling.

Jadeja played like a man having no tomorrow when the situation demanded a little more caution. His 21-ball 26 entertained the crowd, but what India needed at that moment was a firm hand at one end so that Dhoni could keep gathering runs at the other side.

Jadeja seemed oblivious to the situation, and his cameo came to an end when he skied Trent Boult to Ian Sodhi at mid-on. Amidst all that rush of blood, Ajinkya Rahane was adjudged leg before to Boult when the replays suggested a big edge.

Dhoni carried India’s last smidgeon of hope, but the third umpire decided that Wagner’s foot was inside after Dhoni’s bottom edge off a bouncer dishevelled the bails. It was the last nail in India’s coffin, and now they will be eager for a turnaround in the second Test at Wellington, starting on Friday.

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