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The second Test match at Hyderabad ended as a damp squib as well.
There were many who considered the tourists easy meat coming into the Test series. The New Zealand batsmen obviously had other thoughts.
Except for the first innings here when they collapsed after a healthy start, they have made the Indian bowlers labour hard for their wickets. They have not let the home side buy their wickets cheap.
Brendon McCullum continued where he had left off on the fourth day, posting his highest ever score in Test cricket, batting for over nine hours to score a well-made double ton. There were no surprises in either camp that he was adjudged the man-of-the-match.
This Test was just the third instance of McCullum playing as an opener. His knock was a wonderful exhibition of the talent and temperament he possesses. IPL fans are familiar with the devastation he can wreak; very few have forgotten how he lit up the inaugural edition with a blistering 150 plus for the Kolkatta KnightRiders.
He has suffered from a lack of consistency since.
2010 has shed some light at the end of the tunnel. His third century this year—two against worthy opponents,Australia and India—was an essay in perseverance and patience. It was an almost unblemished knock that gave the Indian trundlers not a semblance of a chance.
Daniel Vettori was upbeat about his team’s chances in the third Test at Nagpur at the post-match awards ceremony. Dhoni was more circumspect, preferring to term Harbhajan as a specialist bowler who can bat a bit. He did speculate about opting for five bowlers in the final match.
That would be the more attacking ploy. Besides, if India really has the best batting line-up in the world, they should start acting that way.
Raina and Dhoni will be disappointed with their batting performances. If Raina fails again, it will leave the door just a wee bit ajar for Yuvraj Singh to reclaim his place in the side. Can the selectors risk leaving him out for a Test series against the Proteas in South Africa?
Harbhajan Singh has been the saviour of the much vaunted batting line-up in the last two matches. Tendulkar is overdue for a big score. Two matches on placid pitches have probably not been challenging enough for the master batsman to register his 50th ton. If Tendulkar does not convert his starts into a big hundred at Nagpur, it will be the first series in a long time where he will not have have fired.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man! Will Nagpur be Tendulkar’s Test?
The final score:
New Zealand 350 & 448/8d
India 472 & 68/0 (17.0 ov)
Quote of the day:
A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company. – Gian Vincenzo Gravina