India vs New Zealand: India bowlers bring Kiwis down to earth, level series

Pune: Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik struck half-centuries after an all-round bowling display to guide India to a six-wicket win over New Zealand leveled the three-match series 1-1 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on October 25.
The day started with drama after cricket authorities sacked Pune pitch curator, Pandurang Salgaokar, following claims made in a TV sting where reporters allegedly posed as bookies.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli (29) steered the ship despite losing Rohit Sharma (7) cheaply. They provided the perfect launch pad by putting up 57 runs for the second wicket with boundaries and sixes flowing.
However, the Indian skipper’s stay was cut short as he was caught behind while trying to cut a wide ball.
It not only silenced the jam-packed crowd, but also slowed the run rate. Dhawan reached his half-century and followed it up with a six, but moments later miscued Adam Milne after coming down the track to find Ross Taylor at short cover.
Karthik at the other end took his sweet time to settle down, reaching a patient half-century while all-rounder Hardik Pandya took charge to keep the chase in sight.
It was an understandable ploy in a must-win game — keep rotating the strike with ample deliveries to spare — but it perhaps was boring for the 25,000-odd crowd that was subdued as Karthik raised the bat.
They hadn’t run out of energy though as four balls later, when Pandya was dismissed for a 31-ball 30, chants of “Dhoni, Dhoni” reverberated in the stands. He didn’t disappoint, hitting three boundaries to see off the chase with Karthik.
New Zealand got off to a horrid start as they lost their top three batsmen in the first seven overs. The responsibility of bailing the team out fell on the in-form Tom Latham (38) and Ross Taylor (21) again.
While the duo that raised a 200-run stand in Mumbai did spend quality time in the middle, they could add only 29 runs before Taylor was caught behind.
Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls (42) then fell back on the traditional mantra of sticking around to keep the scoreboard ticking.
After the initial blitz provided by Bhuvneshwar Kumar – he dismissed both openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro — and Jasprit Bumrah, the spin trio of Kedar Jadhav, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal further tightened the screws, quashing any hopes of a run fest.
Latham (38), who was executing sweeps and reverse-sweeps at ease — he played eight and three respectively to keep the scoreboard ticking — was cleaned up by Patel.
It was a straight delivery, one that he had been paddling all afternoon, but he perhaps failed to read the line.
A few overs later, a similar error from Henry Nicholls saw him head back as well after Bhuvneshwar beat him through the gap between bat and pad.
A late cameo from Colin de Grandhomme, with brief assists from Mitchell Santner (29) and Tim Southee (25), helped the Kiwis get close to the 250-mark but the score was nowhere close to what skipper Kane Williamson might have had in his mind while walking back after toss.

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