Wriddhiman Saha gets a ‘Durga Puja’ gift : Its Durga Puja time in Kolkata and the second Test of the ongoing ‘home series’ against New Zealand got over in four days at the iconic venue, Eden Gardens, giving India victory by margin of 178 runs. India also led the 3-Test series, 2-0.
Not to miss out on the festive season, local boy, wicket-keeper-batman, Wriddhiman Prasanta Saha, played a great knock in both the innings on his home ground in front of the home crowd.
Winning the toss and opting to bat, Team India put up a decent score of 316 runs in the first innings. Losing the openers, Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Murali Vijay (9), early on, the ever-dependable Cheteshwar Pujara played a great knock, scoring his 9th Test half-century by notching up 87 runs in a stay of 278 minutes at the crease with the help of 17 hits to the fence.
In the process he also added 141 runs for the fourth wicket alongwith Ajinkya Rahane, who incidentally registered his 8th Test half century and scored 77 runs in 229 minutes with 11 boundaries.
This partnership gave some respectability to the total taking the score to 187 runs for the loss of 4 wickets. Pujara fell to Neil Wagner, trying to play an uppish drive but ended in giving a simple catch to Martin Guptill at short cover. Wagner had placed Guptill at that position as a ‘build up’ to cage in Pujara, who now has struck three half-centuries in three consecutive innings.
Eight overs later, Rahane also departed when India had put up 200 runs on the board. He went back to a flatter delivery from Jeeten Patel, played the trajectory rather than the length but ended up playing across. On appeal, the umpire had no hesitation in declaring Rahane, ‘leg before wicket’.
This is when the diminutive wicket-keeper-batsman, Wridhhiman Saha, walked in to join Ravichandran Ashwin in the middle.
Playing a great knock, Saha added 31 runs for the seventh wicket with Ashwin (26), 41 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (14) for the eighth wicket, and 35 runs for the 10th wicket with Mohammad Shami (14).
In the process, Saha registered his maiden Test half-ton and at the end of the innings, remained unbeaten on 54* runs in an innings of 124 minutes with 7 fours and 2 huge sixes. His half-century came in 78 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes.
Replying to India’s score, the Kiwis were restricted to 204 runs in their first knock, with significant contributions coming from their skipper, Ross Taylor (36), Luke Ronchi (35) and Jeeten Patel (47).
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar produced a ‘fifer’ picking up the wickets of Guptill (33), Nichols (1), Taylor, Mitchell Santner (11) and Matt Henry (0). Bhuvi gave away 48 runs in his spell of 15 overs.
Shami picked up 3 wickets, giving away 70 runs in 18 overs.
Taking a lead of 112 runs, India again piled up 263 runs in their second innings. As the top order failed, the middle order took over the responsibility with the skipper, Virat Kohli notching up 45 runs and added a valuable 48 runs for the fifth wicket alongwith Rohit Sharma.
Making up for his failure in the first innings, Sharma came good, second time around and scored a wonderful 82 runs in 224 minutes of stay at the crease with the help of 9 fours and 2 sixes.
In the process he also added 103 runs for the seventh wicket with Saha.
Trying to play a flat length ball outside the off-stump that spun away very sharply, Sharma faintly edged a simple catch to Luke Ronchi.
Saha then continued from where he left in the first innings.
Staying at the crease for 204 minutes and sending the ‘red cherry’ 6 times to the fence, Saha produced another brilliant innings by scoring an unbeaten 58* runs.
Lower down the order, Bhuvi scored 23 runs and helped Team India to put up 263 runs on the board.
Chasing a whooping target of 376 runs at the spin-friendly fourth-day wicket at Eden was no mean thing.
The guile of Ashwin and Jadeja put the Kiwi batsmen under tremendous pressure. Except the opener, Tom Latham (74), no other batsmen could make any significant contribution and the team folded up with just 197 runs on the board.
Ashwin ended the innings with an analysis of 31-6-82-3 while Jadeja had 20-3-41-3.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony about his bowling performance, Bhuvi said, “In India we generally don”t get these kinds of wickets. When you get one, you just try to make the most of it. When you contribute to a win, it”s something special for you. Thanks to physio and trainer, they worked hard with me [on ankle injury]. Shami is the most lazy person in the team, but when he”s on the field he always gives it 100%. It”s a sweet victory, because you don”t generally get these sorts of wickets [in India] which help seamers.”
For his brilliant effort with the bat and behind the stumps, Wriddhiman Saha was adjudged the Player of the Match. Getting this award at his home ground, in front of his home crowd, comes as the best Durga Puja gift for him.
India go 2-0 up in the series.