KANPUR: Ajaz Patel and Rachin Ravindra survived crucial 52 balls after the fall of the 9th wicket to ensure New Zealand draw the match and deny India a victory on the 5th day of the first Test here on Monday.
Chasing 280 on the final day was always out of sight for the New Zealanders but Tom Latham and William Somerville successfully warded off the threat from Indian bowlers in their 76-run stand in the first session. However, that wasn’t enough. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, and Axar Patel then scalped eight wickets in the next two sessions.
With 6 wickets to get in the final session, spinner Axar Patel had Henry Nicholls adjudged LBW. Five overs later Ravindra Jadeja got the prized wicket of NZ skipper Kane Williamson who scored 24 off 112 balls. Tom Blundell was bowled rounds his legs by R Ashwin in the 79th over. Kylie Jamieson and Tim Southee were sent back in quick succession by Jadeja as the track deteriorated amid fading light.
Mumbai-born Patel (2 off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Ravindra’s (18 not out off 91 balls) stubborn defences couldn’t be breached as New Zealand dramatically pulled of a stunning draw.
The Kanpur Test is arguably one of India’s most hard-fought Test matches at home conditions in recent times but will throw serious questions regarding stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane’s position in the squad as Virat Kohli returns in the second Test.
Speedster Ishant Sharma looked lackluster as he went wicket less in his 22 overs in the match.
Axar Patel who is a having a dream run with his 5-wicket hauls managed to only grab one wicket in the final inning.
Even as Ashwin would have wanted a victory, he was able to cross Harbhajan Singh 417 wickets to become the third highest wicket-taker for India in Test match cricket.
Leg-spinner and former skipper Anil Kumble is on the top with 619 scalps, followed by India’s first World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, who has a total of 434 wickets under his name.
Indian batter Shreyas Iyer expectedly walked away with the Player of the Match award for his century and fifty in the two innings of his debut Test.
The two teams are now head to Mumbai for the second and final Test.