Zee Media Bureau/Yogesh Pandey
Wellington: Even if Team India have pushed the Kiwis on the verge of losing the 2nd Test match at Basin Reserve, the Day 3 witnessed complacency on the part of touring side after tasting some initial success.
Until Brendon McCullum`s arrival at the crease, the game was fully in control of India. The Kiwis, at one stage, were struggling at 94 for 5. But as the match went on, the team bore the brunt of not devising proper strategy to beat the New Zealand skipper`s defence. It seemed that Dhoni-led boys, having ruled the Kiwis for two days of the match, had got complacent and carried away.
Consequently, New Zealand took a 5-run lead at the end of Day 3, making India wait for some more time to end the drought of not winning a Test match on foreign soil since June 2011.
Complacency, it`s not a new thing as far as Team India is concerned. Be it in the Test or ODIs or even in T20s.
There have been instances when Team India, after suppressing the opposition`s attack, threw away the chances, only either to have a narrow win, or to face a defeat.
The same habit got repeated on Sunday in Wellington, and McCullum seized the moment to thwart the Indian pace-attack which was working to perfection until his arrival in the centre. The Kiwi skipper not only saved his team from an innings defeat but has given an outside chance to win the match. In fact, McCullum increased the tempo in the closing stages of Day 3, with his last fifty coming at a run a ball and reaching his 9th Test hundred.
Indian bowlers once again found themselves at the receiving end of McCullum`s fearless batting as he didn`t let bowlers reap benefits of the new ball too. He drove, slogged off, punched and never felt under pressure.
Again, India`s attack looked ordinary. Dhoni`s boys, particularly Ishant Sharma, who scalped six New Zealand wickets in the first innings drew blank on Sunday. His inconsistency with the ball is still intact. He shines in one innings and fizzles out in the very next one.
Dhoni, who could have kept on attacking by keeping close-in fielders, instead gave a free ride to McCullum and Watling to score singles off Ravindra Jadeja. This eased out pressure from both end, with Kiwis cashing in on the opportunity and built a solid stand of 158 runs against the visitors.
Monday morning blues for NZ
For the Indian team to break the jinx of back to back overseas defeats, all they need to do is to break the McCullum-Watling partnership at the earliest.
For the Black Caps, if they withstand the morning session`s ball movements and set a decent target for India, the match will become alive.