India outplayed the Kiwis in the second test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and won the test match within four days and in doing so regained the number one spot in the ICC test ranking. They will gain the number one status officially at the end of the test series as per the ICC test ranking policy.
It was a combined effort of batsmen, bowlers and fielders which helped India to win by a margin of 197 runs. Some of the standout performances for India include B Kumar taking 5 wickets in the first innings on his return to the side, Pujara making 87 and Rahane making 77 in the first innings, R Sharma making an important 82 in the second innings and wicket-keeper W Saha scoring unbeaten half centuries in both innings contributing vital runs down the order.
The Kiwis entered the second test without their captain Kane Williamson who was suffering from a bug and missed him both as a batsman and a captain even though Ross Taylor did a good job. The Kiwis had more than one occasion to take control of the match but let crucial moments slip away and let India off the hook. Captain V Kohli also scored a well made 45 in the second innings and looked to be getting back into form.
However it was Saha who received the man of the match award. In a statement, Saha said “I’m very happy for winning the series and getting my first man of the match. My teammates and the crowd supported me a lot. Not much pressure. I’m just going in to bat, defending the good balls, rotating the strike, and putting the bad ball away to the boundary. The West Indies hundred boosted my confidence, but I didn’t score much in Kanpur, that’s why I took my time in the initial few balls. I just did my job behind the stumps, nothing much. I just keep watching the ball till the last, and soft hands, that’s it”.
The Kiwis will play for pride in the third set which starts on the 8th of October in Indore. They will not want to have a series whitewash and will take away a few positives from the second test. Fast bowler M Henry proved that he can bowl well and take wickets in the sub-continent, J Patel proved that he can still get wickets and contribute lower down the order and T Latham looks solid at the top of the order.
India could make a couple of changes to their line-up considering the fact that S Dhawan was not on the field during the second innings and could be replaced by G Gambhir. India will find it hard to drop R Sharma after his performance in the second innings but could use a third spinner in Indore to ease the workload of Jadeja and Ashwin keeping in mind that there is a long home season.