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Wed Apr 23 16:06:40 SAST 2014

India seal test series

TEAMtalk Media | 03 September, 2012 14:080 Comments
India's Virat Kohli (C) celebrates after India won the match and the series against New Zealand on the fourth day of their second test in Bangalore, September 3, 2012
Image by: Vivek Prakash / REUTERS

India endured a momentary wobble on day four in Bangalore, but ultimately rode to a five-wicket win - and two-nil series triumph - on the back of Virat Kohli's unbeaten half-century on Monday.

Trounced by an innings and 115 runs in the first Test, New Zealand put in a much stronger performance in the second, fell short regardless, but can take heart ahead of the World Twenty20, which will take place in similar conditions.

Their mental block against spin bowling is, perhaps, not as long-term as anticipated, while the talent of their fast bowlers is bound to serve them better in series to come.

Resuming on 232 for nine overnight, the visitors sported high hopes of lengthy defiance from their tail-enders. Numbers 10 and 11, however, lasted a mere 4.2 overs before Jeetan Patel was adjudged caught behind in dubious circumstances. Umpire Ian Gould though there was an edge, yet multiple television replays begged to differ.

Set a testing 261-run target on a pitch lined with variable bounce, India tucked into their pursuit in brisk fashion. Virender Sehwag, true to form and characteristic aggression, slapped the new ball to all corners of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium en route to 38 from just 33 balls, seven fours and a six included.

Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir, meanwhile, played the role of sheet anchor, but was not to be outdone in terms of boundaries struck, also fetching seven.

Their 77-run alliance, in under a dozen overs, ended when Sehwag endured a rush of blood to the head, dancing down the wicket, swinging through the line and missing the length to be bowled by spinner Jeetan Patel.

Gambhir was out shortly after Sehwag, spooning a simple catch to Ross Taylor in the slips, who sensed a possible turnaround was afoot.

While a rain delay marred the bulk of the middle session, Tim Southee's dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar (27) for the second time in the match and Daniel Flynn's marvelous catch to get rid of Cheteshwar Pujara (48) kept the Black Caps in the contest. Suresh Raina, castled for a duck after ridiculously slogging across the line, also aided the Kiwis' cause.

At 166 for five, India's proverbial applecart was in danger of being upset to the good of the New Zealanders. First-innings centurion and Man of the Match Kohli, with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni along for the ride, though, put that ambition to bed.

Romping to 51 not out, with Dhoni nailing an unbeaten 48, their sixth-wicket stand soon amounted to an unbroken 96 - ensuring the highest successful fourth-innings run chase in Bangalore since the hosts trumped Australia in 2010.

Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was deemed Player of the Series after securing 18 wickets in the two matches.

The teams will now contest three T20Is, the first of which gets underway in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

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India seal test series

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