Iyer, 1st Indian to a ton & a 50 on debut, Latham’s twin 50s, NZ’s defiance and many more

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29 Nov 2021 | 01:45 PM
authorAnirudh Kasargod

Iyer, 1st Indian to a ton & a 50 on debut, Latham’s twin 50s, NZ’s defiance and many more

Here are a few noteworthy stats from the fourth and fifth day of first Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur

The fourth day is generally the moving day of the Test. With a lead of 63, India were in the driver's seat at the start of the day. However, New Zealand bowlers made early inroads and gave India the early scare after they were reduced to 51 for five in the first session. But, it was the debutant Shreyas Iyer once again to the rescue. He forged a 52-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Ravi Ashwin and then another 64-run seventh wicket partnership with Wriddhiman Saha. Iyer registered a half-century in the second innings before his dismissal. Saha played a handy unbeaten knock of 61 to help India post 234/7 before the declaration. New Zealand in pursuit of 284, had to bat the tricky overs at the fag end of the day. A brain-freeze moment from Will Young saw his departure to hand India the advantage required.

With a night-watchman walking into bat at the start of day five, India would have wanted a better start than what they got. Tom Latham was sensational in the first innings and he continued his merry way. But, William Somerville was a thorn in India’s way in the first session. New Zealand overnight batters were unscathed in the first session. But, in the first ball of the second session, Umesh Yadav made the breakthrough as Somerville was bounced out. Latham departed after reaching his second 50+ score of the match. Once again, the experienced Ross Taylor was disappointed as he too fell at the stroke of Tea. It was the third session that spiced up the game. Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson and Tom Blundell were all packed off in the first 15 overs of the session. However, the young debutant Rachin Ravindra gritty stay helped New Zealand draw the first Test. India fell one wicket short of a win as the light faded 10-minutes prior to the close of fifth day. Here are a few notable stats from day four and day five combined:

Pujara’s woes continue

Things have gone south for the big three Indian batsmen in recent times. Virat Kohli hasn’t hit a century since November 2019, Ajinkya Rahane is struggling with the bat and so is Cheteshwar Pujara. The most miserable aspect of Puajar’s batting is, he is even struggling in home Tests, generally the conditions in which he excels. Batting at number three, Pujara has hit a barren streak of 39 consecutive innings without a century. This is the joint most innings for a number three batsman between centuries. Ajit Wadekar from 1968 till 1974 also played 39 innings without one.

A dream start for Shreyas Iyer

A debut for one of Mumbai’s best batsmen in the First-class circuit Shreyas Iyer, was in the cards. After KL Rahul picked up an injury, it was all confirmed that Iyer would be the 303rd player for India in Tests. In the provided opportunity, Iyer made full use of it and registered a century in the first innings and a half-century in the second. By virtue of it, he became the first Indian batsman to hit a ton and a fifty in his debut match. The 170 runs he scored in this match is the third highest for an Indian on debut. 

Jamieson’s exceptional returns in first Asian experience

Playing for the first time in Asian conditions, that too against one of the best teams, Jamieson made a name for himself. With a bit of assistance from the pitch, he used his height to extract a bit of extra bite of the pitch. By registering a three-wicket haul in each of the innings, Jamieson returned with figures of 6/131 in his first Asian and Indian outing. Among New Zealand bowlers, his six-wicket haul in the match is the third best on debut in India. Dayle Hadlee, Matt Henry and Chris Martin also had six-wicket hauls in their first appearance in India. Among the four, Dayle had the best bowling figures 6/74.

An all-important partnership

Starting the day five alongside a night-watchman, Latham forged an all-important partnership for the second wicket with Somerville. More than the runs, the duo managed to eat time and overs as they batted throughout the first session. Their 76-run partnership was the third highest second wicket partnership for a visiting team in the fourth innings of a Test in India. To add more, since 2000, only one pair had batted more overs for the second wicket in the fourth innings. Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma in 2015 in Delhi batted for 38.4 overs.

Tom “tremendous” Latham

One of the main reasons behind New Zealand’s success in this match has been Latham. Though he fell five runs short of a century in the first innings, his 95 helped New Zealand to post 296. In the second innings as well, even after losing his opening partner early on, Latham showed tremendous grit as he registered another half-century in the second innings. Throughout the match, Latham faced 428 balls for his 147 runs. This is the most balls faced by a New Zealand batsman in India in Tests (where ball data is available). That’s not it, Latham registered few more notable records and here is a list of few:

Latham became the third New Zealand batsman to register twin 50+ scores against India in India. Nathan Astle (103 & 51*) and Craig McMillan (54 & 83) in Ahmedabad in 2003 are the other two.

He also became the fourth New Zealand opener to register twin 50+ scores in Asian conditions. Peter Fulton in 2013 against Bangladesh in Chattogram was the last to achieve this record.

Prior to Latham in this Test, the last time a visiting opener batted 100+ balls in both the innings of a Test was in 2012. Sir Alastair Cook in Ahmedabad batted 109 balls for his 41 in the first innings and 374 balls for his 176 in the second.  

This was the fifth innings in which Latham had played more than 100+ balls in India. Among visiting openers since 2000, only Sir Alastair Cook has had more innings with 100+ balls in India. Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich also have five.

Ashwin goes past Harbhajan

With the wickets of Tom Blundell in the second innings, Ashwin went past Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 417 wickets to become the third highest wickets taker for India and the most successful off-spinner for India. From a fan-boy to surpassing his idol, Ashwin’s journey in Tests has been extremely successful. Just to elaborate more on his success, Ashwin has had 419 wickets in just 80 matches, which is the second most for a bowler in the first 80 Test after the great Muttiah Muralitharan (450).

The last wicket thriller

As said earlier, the game livened up in the last session as Williamson, Nicholls and Blundell were dismissed early in the session. Jamieson lasted 30 balls and Southee was packed off within 10 balls. But, Ravindra on debut and Ajaz Patel batted 52 balls for the last wicket to deny India a win. This was only the third time in a match in Asia where the last wicket stayed unbeaten to draw a Test. Also, the third instance for India where they were denied a win with the last wicket remaining.

Defiance of the highest caliber

As this match goes into the history books as one of the best, for New Zealand this isn’t something new when they are playing in India. To draw this Test, New Zealand batted 98 overs in the fourth innings against three Indian spinners. In the last 50 years – Since 1971 – this was the fifth time New Zealand had batted 90+ overs in the fourth innings of a Test in India to draw. Only seven times in this time frame a visiting team has batted 90+ overs in the fourth innings of a Test in India and New Zealand have done it five times. West Indies in 1978 in Kolkata had batted 105.1 overs and Sri Lanka in 2017 in Delhi had batted 103 overs. The grit of New Zealand batters has been impeccable. 

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India vs New ZealandNew Zealand tour of India, 2021IndiaNew ZealandCheteshwar PujaraShreyas IyerKyle JamiesonTom LathamWilliam SomervilleRavichandran Ashwin

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