Williamson lauds Ravindra, Ajaz

Williamson lauds Ravindra, Ajaz

The atmosphere was as tense as it was magical

Kane Williamson. Credit: AFP Photo

Five-odd overs left in the day. Seven fielders around the bat. Rachin Ravindra slaps the bat each time Ajaz Patel defends the ball. Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin throw their lungs at every appeal. Umpires walk to the stumps between every over to check the light-metre. The crowd cheers each time, they say ‘play on’.

The atmosphere was as tense as it was magical. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was on one of those cozy recliners on the patio of the dressing room. He wasn’t at all comfortable, rubbing his face and tugging on his beard more often than anyone can remember. 

At 4.22 pm, the drama concluded - two-odd overs left in the day. Anticlimactic as it was, New Zealand had held off India with one wicket left. The opening Test between the teams at the Green Park in Kanpur was a draw. But it was a far better advertisement for Test cricket than anything the broadcasters have come up with. 

Read | Pitch was quite unresponsive on fifth day, says India head coach Dravid

Even the typically stoic Williamson couldn’t disagree. “It was fun. Lights getting dim, nine down, this is what makes a Test match. That’s just the beauty of Test cricket. It was some old-school Test cricket, trying to bat out a day. It isn’t seen all that often in recent years. It was good fun. It’s nice to come away with a draw in the end.”

Left-arm spinner Ravindra may not have had the best of debuts with the ball, going for 45 runs in 16 overs without a wicket, but having come into the side as someone who can bat, he proved his worth on the final day. 

With more than half the side back in the hut, Ravindra, born to Bengalurean parents, played almost as if experienced in gruelling conditions and scored 18 runs. More importantly, he played out 91 deliveries to keep New Zealand alive. 

“That was an outstanding effort. It was tense, those last few overs. That’s why we have him in the side. To have this as his debut match must be special for him. Such a lovely Test match to start your career,” said Williamson. 

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