CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand romped to a seven-wicket victory over India in the second test in Christchurch on Monday for an emphatic 2-0 series sweep of the number one side in the world.
The Black Caps dismissed the tourists for 124 in the first hour of the third day before chasing down their 132-run victory target with half of the test to spare for the loss of three wickets.
Henry Nicholls hit the winning run after his openers had done most of the heavy lifting as New Zealand drove home a dominance that was only briefly challenged over the two matches in the series.
“Outstanding,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
“I don’t think the end result reflected how tight that match was. As we know, there’s a fine line. India are a world class side, top of the comp, so a great effort from the guys.”
India succumbed to their first two defeats in the World Test Championship but their big lead means their position at the top of the standings will not be threatened any time soon.
While their batsmen stuttered, the Indian bowlers refused to back down on a Hagley Oval pitch that continued to offer plenty of movement off the seam.
The efforts of Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav ultimately only spared the tourists back-to-back thrashings by 10 wickets.
The thumping victory in the first test in Wellington did much to ease the pain of New Zealand’s miserable 3-0 drubbing in Australia over the New Year and the series sweep underlined how tough it is to play the Black Caps in their backyard.
“When you sit down and look back at this series, you have to give credit to the New Zealand bowlers … you have to play extravagant shots to get runs,” said India captain Virat Kohli, who managed just 38 runs from four innings in the series.
“It was a combination of us not quite having the right execution and New Zealand playing really well in their conditions.”
After the drama of day two, when 16 wickets fell as India stormed back into the match only to be pegged back by the close of play, there was a more subdued atmosphere at an overcast Hagley Oval on Monday.
India resumed on 90-6 but Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami and Bumrah all quickly departed and New Zealand were soon heading back to the dressing room to pad up with only 34 more runs on the board.
Trent Boult took 4-28 and Tim Southee grabbed 3-36 as New Zealand’s experienced strike pairing did what they do in home conditions.
Their efficiency meant all-rounder Kyle Jamieson, who made an impressive test debut in Wellington, did not have a chance to add to his 5-45 in India’s first innings – a fine display which he backed up with a crucial 49 in New Zealand’s first innings.
India’s final wicket fell when Bumrah charged down the track for a single and was left stranded as Ravindra Jadeja declined the run, a suitably chaotic end to a poor effort from a much vaunted batting order on New Zealand’s green pitches.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s 24 was the highest score by an Indian batsman in the second innings while his gritty half century was one of three from the tourists in the first.
It was left to India’s bowling unit, robbed by injury of Ishant Sharma, to keep the tourists in the match and they did their job to great effect on day two in Christchurch.
A magnificent display of seam and swing bowling handed India an unlikely first-innings lead of seven runs after they restricted New Zealand to 235 in reply to their 242.
Their batsmen were unable to maintain the advantage, however, and a shoulder injury sustained by Shami while batting on Monday further diminished the likelihood that the Indian bowlers could fashion a stunning victory.
New Zealand openers Tom Latham (52) and Tom Blundell (55) did most of the work in the victory chase before falling to Yadav and Bumrah respectively, the latter producing a peach of a delivery to take out the batsman’s off stump.
Williamson also made a cameo with five runs before he was caught off his gloves fending another fizzing delivery from the impressive Bumrah.