In our build up to the India-New Zealand Tests, we start a two-part series in which we look at India’s performance in New Zealand in Tests during their last two visitors to the country. In part one, we look at their tour to the Kiwi land in 2002-03. India featured in two Tests during this tour and ended up losing both Tests, unable to deal with the conditions which were heavily loaded in favour of the pace bowlers.
1st Test at Wellington: December 12-14, 2002
India’s batting was completely exposed at Wellington. They batted first and their extremely strong batting line-up folded up for a mere 161. Rahul Dravid was the only one to show some spunk. He made a valiant 76. As for the other big names, Sehwag made 2, Tendulkar 8, Ganguly 17 and Laxman 0. Bond and Styris got three wickets each for New Zealand. Under the conditions, New Zealand responded with a healthy 247, build around opener Mark Richardson’s 89 and Nathan Astle’s supporting act of 41. For India Zaheer Khan claimed 5 for 53.
India’s batting a second time round was even more abysmal. This time, Tendulkar was the only one to cross fifty as the rest crumbled and India faltered to 121 all out. Bond picked up four wickets in India’s second innings even as Darly Tuffey and Jacob Oram claimed three wickets each. New Zealand needed only 36 runs to chase down the target and did so with all their ten wickets in hand.
2nd Test at Hamilton: December 19-22, 2002
This was an even more disastrous batting effort from India. Batting first, they fell one run short of the 100-run mark in their first innings. Only two Indian batsmen got into double figures during the innings – Laxman (23) and Harbhajan Singh (20). Bond and Tuffey starred again for the Kiwis with four wickets each. India’s bowling was sensational in reply, as they held the Kiwis to 94. Zaheer again stood out for India with five wickets even as Nehra and Harbhajan picked up a couple of wickets each.
The second innings failure cost India the Test though. 154 is all they managed, with many of their batsmen getting starts and then getting out – Dravid made 39, Tendulkar 32 and Sehwag 25. Tuffey and Oram claimed four wickets each for New Zealand to put them in command. Set to win a somewhat uncomfortable 160 in the second innings, New Zealand got home by four wickets, with crucial contributions right through. Richardson made 28, skipper Fleming 32 and Oram an unbeaten 26.
--By A Cricket Analyst