Auckland: Shoddy shot selection and poor umpiring cost India dear as they lost the first cricket Test to New Zealand by 40 runs on day four at the Eden Park here Sunday.
The decision to give Ajinkya Rahane (18) lbw when he had edged the ball just before tea put India on the backfoot. But captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dismissal would raise eyebrows after it cost India the match.
Dhoni edged a Neil Wagner’s short-pitched ball back to the stumps but umpire Steve Davies referred the decision to third umpire Gary Baxter for a close no-ball call.
TV replays showed Wagner’s foot landing on the white line, however, the third umpire deemed he had no problem and gave Dhoni out much to the shock of the TV commentators.
Indian batsmen, however, had themselves to blame to be in that situation. Poor shot selection from Virat Kohli (67), Rohit Sharma (19) and Ravindra Jadeja played a key role in India’s defeat.
The visitors lost Rohit Sharma on the first ball after tea. Dhoni and Jadeja then launched a breathtaking counter-attack, which left the Kiwis reeling.
The duo added 54 runs off just 34 runs for the seventh wicket to take India closer to the target. But a rush of blood saw Jadeja caught at mid-on, which left India with 82 runs to chase and three wickets in hand.
Zaheer Khan (17) and Dhoni notched together 25 runs for the eighth wicket as India inched towards the target. But Kiwi pacer Wagner was at hand again to dismiss Zaheer and swing the match back in favour of the hosts.
Dhoni’s dismissal was the nail in the coffin. Ishant Sharma (4) did manage to hit a boundary but an ambitious pull shot was the end of him and India.
Earlier, India came out to bat after lunch in an aggressive mood. Both Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan (115) took on the Kiwi attack and seemed to be doing some real damage.
However, Kohli got carried away and tried to pull a short and wide Neil Wagner delivery, managing only to get a bottom edge to the wicketkeeper.
The wicket gave New Zealand a new lease of life and it was the left-arm pacer again who removed the dangerous Dhawan to really put India on the backfoot.
Ajinkya Rahane’s (18) nightmarish tour continued but this time the diminutive right-hander fell victim to a poor decision from the umpire.
Left-arm pacer Trent Boult flummoxed Rahane with a beautiful in-swinging delivery, which cannoned in to his pads but not before taking a slight edge off his bat.
India had looked down and out of the contest after the first innings. New Zealand scored a mammoth 503 runs and then bowled out India for a paltry 202. But an inexplicable second innings batting collapse saw the hosts being bowled out for 105, giving India a way in to the match.