Dambulla: A superb display of swing bowling led by pacer Daryl Tuffey and pragmatic batting by skipper Ross Taylor and veteran Scott Styris helped New Zealand beat India by a huge margin of 200 runs in the opening match of the tri-nation series here on Tuesday.
Though Tuffey (3/34) was exceptional in his swing and impeccable in his line and length, all the New Zealand seamers- Kyle Mills(2/26), Andy McKay (1/11) and Jacob Oram (2/15)- exploited the condition perfectly with the new ball and wrecked Indian strong batting line-up for just 88 runs.
Chasing a stiff target of 288, Indian openers Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Kathik gave India a good start with Sehwag playing the role of an aggressor. They took the score to 39.
But suddenly they lost there quick wickets in the form of Virender Sehwag (19), Dinesh Karthik (14) and comeback man Rohit Sharma (4).
Soon after Rohit Sharma’s departure, in-form batsman Suresh Raina also departed leaving India shivering at 50/4.
Tuffey made most of the damages as he picked up 3 out of 4 first wickets. Kyle Mills took the remaining one.
Much was expected of captain M S Dhoni to pull India out of trouble. But he was ran-out while trying to steal an impossible single.
After Dhoni, it was the turn of Yuvraj Singh to fall as he slashed an Andy McKay delivery to the first slip leaving India 62/6. Yuvraj made only 5.
After that it was all formality with tail-enders trying to hang out in the middle but could not be successful in front of a pumped-up Kiwi attack. Ultimately, India were bowled out for 88 in 29.3 overs.
Earlier, a superb 190-run stand between captain Ross Taylor and Scott Styris helped New Zealand post a huge 288 runs after suffering hiccups early in the match.
The highlight of the New Zealand innings was the perfect ODI batting of the two highly talented batsmen at a time of great crisis. When Taylor joined Styris in the middle, the Kiwis were tottering at 28/3. The Indian seamers were spiting venoms with Praveen Kumar looking unplayable.
But the two batsmen kept their cool and built their innings with ones and twos with occasionally hitting boundaries. They made full use of the ordinary Indian spinners who were neither able to control the run flow nor able to take wickets. They helped their team reach hundred runs in the 22ndover.
Ross Taylor played a typical captain’s knock as he hit a crucial under-pressure half-century to lift New Zealand innings. Taylor completed the landmark off 64 balls with five hits to the fence.
Scott Styris, on the other hand, also slammed a matured fifty to lay a solid foundation for the New Zealand. Styris took just 68 balls to reach his fifty with 4 fours.
Such was the dominance of Taylor and Styris that they helped New Zealand cross 200-run mark in the 36th over. But soon after that Scott Styris was bowled by Pragyan Ojha. Styris made 89 off 95 balls with 9 fours and a six.
Ashish Nehra, then, in his second spell, picked up dangerous Jacob Oram for 14, Oram, who was looking dangerous in his short stay at the crease, slammed two fours during his 10-ball knock.
Nehra inflicted the most important blow on New Zealand as he removed captain Ross Taylor for 95. Taylor, who pulled the Kiwis out of the woods, played a superb 113-ball knock which consisted of eight fours and a six.
Earlier, swing bowler Praveen Kumar started brilliantly for India as he struck in the third over, removing Martin Guptill for 11 after New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat first in the opening match of the Tri-series. Gauptill looked like a man in a hurry as he slammed two boundaries during his 6-ball knock but gave a simple catch to wicketkeeper M S Dhoni.
After Praveen Kumar, it was the turn of Ashish Nehra to inflict the second blow on the New Zealanders as he sent Peter Ingram to the pavilion for 12, leaving New Zealand at 27/2 inside the first six overs.
Kumar, then, bowled new Kiwi sensation Ken Williamson out for only 9. Williamson, playing his first international match, was outfoxed by Kumar’s in-swinging delivery which rattled his stumps.
New ball duo of Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra remained the most successful bowlers as they picked up 3 and 4 wickets respectively.
India have left out injured Ishant Sharma, off-spinner R Ashwin, batsmen Virat Kholi and Saurabh Tiwary from the final XI.
India (Playing XI): Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Pragyan Ojha, Ashish Nehra
New Zealand (Playing XI): Peter Ingram, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor(c), Kane Williamson, Scott Styris, Grant Elliott, Gareth Hopkins(w), Jacob Oram, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Andy McKay