New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel came up with a resolute performance to hold off the Indian spinners in the final hour of the first Test to earn a commendable draw in Kanpur.
India pushed really hard for the victory but the light didn’t allow the 12-13 minutes of play left in the day. Rachin did a brilliant job holding the fort for his side on debut.
The day started so well for the visitors with Tom Latham and William Somerville playing out a wicketless morning session. Both looked so assured in their defense and the slowness of the surface meant the Indian spinners weren’t getting the bite that they usually would on a Day 5 pitch.
So Near Yet So Far.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 29, 2021
But batting wasn’t easy as the rest of the New Zealand batters found out once Umesh opened the door first ball after lunch by bouncing Somerville out. Only Kane Williamson and Ravindra got to double figures from then on as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel spun a web.
India did start the final session by getting quick wickets, but Rachin Ravindra displayed good defence to share points in what has been an exciting five days of cricket.
“I don’t think we could have done anything different” – Ajinkya Rahane
Speaking at the end of the game, Ajinkya Rahane stated that he had done everything at his disposal to secure a win. However, the Black Caps resisted well to snatch a point. Speaking at the end of the game, Rahane said:
“Not really. I tried my best. Very good game of cricket, they played really well. We came back really well after the first session. We wanted to get that partnership going. We were looking to bowl 5-6 overs in the end, but we needed that partnership to carry on. I don’t think we could have done anything different. The chat with the umps was about the light. As a fielding team, you want to bowl more overs, as a batting unit you don’t want to bat in that situation.”
“The chat was about the light, but umpires made the call and I thought they were right. I thought on this wicket the spinners had to bowl long spells. It was all about rotating the bowlers and they bowled really well. I am really happy for Shreyas. He had to wait a long time for his Test debut. He batted really well. The way he works, his record in FC cricket is really good. Virat is coming back for the next game. We’ll have to wait and see till the Mumbai game. I am not going to make any comments but the management will make a call.”
Kane Williamson, on the other hand, lauded how their players performed over the last five days.
“It has been touch and go around this time throughout the game. Terrific game overall. All three results were still at play. We showed a lot of heart to bat through the day. Some fantastic experiences for Rachin, Ajaz and Somerville. It was also nice to have a crowd here to see this game. The two fast bowlers that did play were outstanding.”
“Bowling long overs was an unbelievable effort. We know this Indian side is a very strong one. Experience overall in this game was good to have. There are things to touch on. Getting the overs under the belt was good to have. We have to prepare for a different kind of pitch in Mumbai,” Williamson added.
Would have been the icing on the cake if we had won the game – Shreyas Iyer
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 29, 2021
Shreyas Iyer, who made his debut in this Test match, made use of the opportunity, becoming the first Indian to score a century and fifty on debut. He said:
“It’s a great feeling, but would been the icing on the cake if we had won the game. You can see that the pitch is still intact. We bowled really well. Mindset was to play sessions and play as many balls as possible. People say I am a flamboyant player, don’t curb my instincts, but I was just looking to play as many balls. Enjoyed batting with Ashwin and Saha. Happy with the overall performance of the team. The pressure is always there. They got off to a great start. Once we got a sniff and got quick wickets, we made best use of the situation.”