Indians have already won the Test series against the Kiwis by 2-0 safe and sound so far. But, staying on top of the ICC Test Rankings means a lot for team India. To maintain that evergreen position, the hosts are looking to clean sweep the Test series.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kiwis had to put an end to the hosts in order to avoid the ignominy. The third and the final Test match between the two teams draws a dramatic contest as both teams look to fight for a much-needed win in Indore.
Virat Kohli & Co batted first on a good track after winning the toss. To remember that, the pitch at Holkar Cricket Stadium is not only good for the batters but also the bowlers. Shikhar Dhawan’s injury concern gave Gautam Gambhir a sensational gap to partner with Murali Vijay.
However, the openers started off well but couldn’t get along well with the resurgent Kiwis bowling attack when Vijay gave his wicket cheaply to an Indian descent New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel when Latham took a good catch at short leg position.
Gautam Gambhir at the other end played natural innings after a two-year break from Test format and started to get settled with the leading run-scorer in the ongoing Test series Cheteshwar Pujara.
Gambhir essayed three fours and two whopping sixes indicating an epic comeback to the National side but a brilliant ball from Trent Boult forced Gambhir to play defensively but thumped at the back pad and Gambhir left the pitch on 29 runs for his LBW.
It was a tremendous noise in the stadium when Virat Kohli came in out to bat. Pujara and Kohli started to slow down the innings and played calmly to avoid a fear set of circumstances. Pujara batted well to his well-deserved patience inclusive of six fours ticking up 41 runs to his name.
Mitchell Santner was brought back into the attack to do the business and to his bowling attack, Santner reaped rewards when he was asked to do justice to his team. Santner got Pujara out when the left-arm bowler whipped the stumps. It was quite clear that the ball didn’t turn much but Pujara played down the wrong line and paid the price.
When three wickets were down, the pressure was straight into the home side. To restore things back to a healthy position, the team needed a good camaraderie from the players to add flesh to the scorecard. Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli had a good understanding between each other which turned out to be one of the best partnerships India hoped for.
The constructive duo put on a 167-run liaison for the fourth wicket thereby piloting the scorecard to 267/3 at the end of Day 1. In that sensational run-stand, both players scored half-centuries and Virat Kohli who came in out to bat before Rahane arrived, converted the small to a big milestone, recording his thirteenth ton in Test cricket and his third against the Kiwis.
The spectacular partnership from Kohli-Pujara took the game away from the Kiwis where the bowlers had nothing to do but scratch their heads for a clue on Day 1. India are now in a healthy position to score a lump of runs and already in a route to batting as long as another two sessions to pose a threat to the Kiwis.
India (Batting) – 267/3 (90 overs) ; Virat Kohli – 103 (191), Ajinkya Rahane – 79 (172) :
New Zealand (Bowling) – Mitchell Santner – 1/53, Jeetan Patel -1/65