Kohli, Dhoni guide India to 5 wicket win
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni successfully guided Team India’s chase of 261 to help them win the second Test of the series against New Zealand at Bangalore on Monday.
Kohli hit 51* (82b, 4x9) to follow his hundred in the first innings and Dhoni was on 48* (60b, 4x3, 6x2) when India reached 262/5, overhauling the target set by the Kiwis.
From 88/2 at Lunch, Sachin Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara had taken India to 147/2 in the second session when rain halted play and forced the covers on. The two had led a recovery after the openers were dismissed in quick succession and were building momentum after a period of consolidation when rain jolted their rhythm. Within minutes of resumption of play, Tendulkar (27) was bowled by Tim Southee. A few overs later a defensive press offered to Jeetan Patel by Pujara (48) saw the ball hit his pad and balloon up. Daniel Flynn at forward short leg ran behind and took a neat catch. From 152/2, India had slid to 158/4.
Kohli released the tension with a couple of fours off Boult but within a while, Suresh Raina charged out at Patel to loft him over long on, completely missed the line. He was bowled by a fairly innocuous straight one for a duck, leaving India at 166/5.
Dhoni and Kohli came together with 95 required for a win. Both began positively, attacking the off spinner and looking for boundaries. Bracewell and Southee were then introduced they manage to quiet the batsmen for a nervous spell. NZ’s fielders contributed equally, making the duo run each run and denying them boundaries for an 8 over stretch, a passage in which India only managed to go from 189 to 204.
Kohli broke the dry spell with a four of Bracewell’s last over of the spell and continued with fours off Boult and Patel when they were brought back despite the inconsistent bounce that Patel was getting. India went from 204 to 225 in just 4 overs.
Southee replaced Boult but Kohli tore into him for three fours in his second over, the last four to bring up his fifty as India raced against the clock for a Day 4 finish. Dhoni followed up the over by tonking Patel for a four and a six, sealing the match with the latter.
Albeit with some fuss, India pulled off a huge chase with small but important contributions from various batsmen, putting to sleep some questions about the team’s ability to win games without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in the team.
Virat Kohli averaged 106 in the Test series with his tally of 212 runs and took the Man of the Match award for his 154 runs at Bangalore. He narrowly missed out on being the topscorer of the series, to Cheteshwar Pujara who made 216 runs including a match winning 159 in the first Test at Hyderabad.
R Ashwin took the Man of the Series award for his 18 wickets at 13.11 each.