Indian batting line-up’s soft underbelly lay exposed in slightly favourable bowling conditions as New Zealand gave a rude wake-up call to the Men In Blue. Trent Boult’s incisive swing bowling was a test of technique for the top-order batsmen. Indian batsman lost their wickets at a regular intervals and were bowled out for 179 in 39.2 overs. While it was a warm-up game and the outcome of the result isn’t something that India would be bothered much about but what certainly would keep them worried is the failure to find a solution to their problems. New Zealand bowlers restricted Indian batsmen with Trent Boult scalping four and Jimmy Neesham taking three wickets.
Jadeja’s half-century ensured a 175-plus score for the ‘Men In Blue’ after being reduced to 115 for 8 at one stage. His 62-run ninth-wicket stand with Kuldeep Yadav was the only saving grace for India, otherwise batting performance was remorseful. Before Jadeja, it was Hardik Pandya, who added 38 runs with Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the fifth wicket. Dhoni’s painful stay at the crease was cut short by Tim Southee when he was caught at short mid-wicket while trying to give the bowler charge. Dhoni, who takes time to settle down, not for once looked comfortable and failed to rotate the strike during the partnership, consuming a lot of deliveries.
It was Jimmy Neesham, who dismissed Hardik with a cross-seam delivery that moved a shade, inducing an outside edge. Hardik was promoted ahead of Dhoni in adverse conditions and he showed positive intent with six boundaries. Dinesh Karthik was gone in the same over, flicking a half-volley straight to fine leg. It was Jadeja, who resurrected the innings with Kuldeep for company. Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the Indian batsmen as he scored a masterful 54.
When New Zealand came to bat, Jasprit Bumrah bowled a testing first spell and Mohammed Shami also found the right length. There were a few positives that Kohli and company can take from this otherwise dismal game.