India vs New Zealand: From Ravichandran Ashwin's record to Virat Kohli's captaincy, 5 things we learned

AFP, Oct, 12 2016

Indore: Five things we learned from India's series whitewash against New Zealand after the hosts won the third and final Test in Indore:

Kohli leads by example 

Virat Kohli's captaincy guided India to victory. AFP

Virat Kohli's captaincy guided India to victory. AFP

Skipper Virat Kohli's all-round performance was one of the prime reasons for India's second successive whitewash against New Zealand at home. As well as leading India to the top of the world Test rankings with some astute captaincy, Kohli registered his first three-figure score at home since taking over as Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Test skipper in December 2014. Kohli's most eye-catching performances since then have been in ODI or T20 cricket under Dhoni's continued captaincy. But his career-best 211 in Indore was proof that the burden of captaincy has not affected his game.

Awesome Ashwin 

Ravichandran Ashwin produced his best performance against New Zealand. AFP

Ravichandran Ashwin produced his best performance against New Zealand. AFP

Ravichandran Ashwin's last international appearance in India before the series had consisted of just two overs in the World Twenty20 semi-final against the West Indies, with Dhoni having apparently lost confidence in the lanky off-spinner. How times change. After claiming 27 wickets to flatten the New Zealand batting, Ashwin was named man of the series and confirmed his status as Kohli's go-to man. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, one of the game's finest batsman, was dismissed in all his four innings by Ashwin who took three five-wicket hauls. "He has shown his class (and) deserved to be man of series," was Williamson's verdict.

War of attrition 

New Zealand's batsmen struggled despite being familiar with Indian pitches. AFP

New Zealand's batsmen struggled despite being familiar with Indian pitches. AFP

Anyone assessing the difference between the teams need only look at the batting statistics. There's little doubting the class of the likes of Williamson, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill but no Kiwi batsman managed to post a century in the three Tests or compile more than 200 runs throughout the series. Plenty of New Zealand's batsmen have experience of local conditions in T20 cricket as regulars in the Indian Premier League but they failed to exhibit the different skillsets -- and mindsets -- needed to succeed on the slower Test pitches. New Zealand's refusal to temper their attacking style has generally served them well but Williamson acknowledged India had prospered by playing "very patiently" at times and had a better battle plan for a "war of attrition".

India's struggling top order 

Gautam Gambhir's recall demonstrated India's opener conundrum. AFP

Gautam Gambhir's recall demonstrated India's opener conundrum. AFP

Despite their overall dominance of the Black Caps, India still struggle to find an effective opening partnership. Gautam Gambhir's recall after two years in the wilderness gave India their fifth different combination at the top of the order in the last 14 Tests but to no obvious effect. Four series have now passed since India's openers posted a century partnership and Shikhar Dhawan -- still a force to be reckoned with in short-form cricket -- could well be vulnerable after scoring a solitary half-century in his last eight Tests.

Test cricket still a draw 

The third test drew a reasonably large crowd. AFP

The third test drew a reasonably large crowd. AFP

As the debate over Test cricket's future intensifies, the spectator turnout was heartening. From Kanpur's Green Park, which celebrated the country's 500th Test, to India's newest Test venue -- Indore's Holkar Stadium -- the matches saw decent crowds and even some packed houses. The Indian board's plan of taking Test cricket to smaller stadiums in a marathon home season appears to be working well. Next up are England, whose first two Tests will be in Rajkot and Visakhapatnam, neither of whom have hosted a Test before. "Taking Test matches to the small cities like Indore has worked wonders... It will definitely help build the popularity of Test cricket," said Board of Control for Cricket in India president Anurag Thakur.

Published Date: Oct 12, 2016 | Updated Date: Oct 12, 2016



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4717 115
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115