It has been a great start to the season for Virat Kohli and his men as they won the final game at Indore against New Zealand to complete 3-0 series win at home. Kohli has taken over captaincy from MS Dhoni and since then has not lost a test series. He has shown tremendous capabilities as a leader that has catapulted India to win overseas series in West Indies and Srilanka.He has made bold decisions when it comes to going into a test match with five-man bowling attack or reinstating aggressive players in the batting order. He has not gone down the conservative route like his predecessors, but taken a fresh approach to win games for India. In essence, it all has fallen into place in a perfect way up till now.
Virat Kohli has made strides as a batsmen too, notching up his first double ton as captain of the side against West Indies in the Caribbean. In this game, he came up with the best to produce yet another fabulous innings of 211 runs when India were placed in a precarious situation at 100 for 3 on Day 1 of the final test match at Indore. He came to the crease with Ajinkya Rahane and wrested the initiative away from New Zealand for the rest of the game to see India pile over 500 runs in the first innings. Rahane also played well as he went onto score 188 runs and prove to be perfect foil for Kohli at the other end. The duo added 365 runs for India which is record for fourth wicket partnership for India.
New Zealand must be lauded for their efforts as they bowled well with good plans but found no luck whatsoever to make vital breakthroughs in the India’s first innings. Kane Williamson did make use of short ball tactics to some effect as he had Rahane in all sorts of trouble in early part of his innings. Kohli also looked tentative at the start prodding and pushing at deliveries just to keep Kiwis interested that the plan was working to some extent.
New Zealand on the other hand failed to score over 300 runs in the series as they got bundled out for 299 runs in their first innings. Martin Guptill did play well for his 72 runs. Tom Latham also played well for his fifty. The openers put on 118 runs, but once they were dismissed it all started to fall apart as Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi fell in a succession to see them reeling at 148 for 5.Jimmy Neesham provided resistance for a while as he made an aggressive 71 runs off 115 balls and struck eleven boundaries in his innings. The lower contributed to the total to see them get all out for 299 runs. The pick of the bowlers for India was Ravi Ashwin who bagged six wickets in the innings.
India did get a lead of over 200 runs as Kohli decided to bat again. Murali Vijay fell early in the innings but Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara added 97 runs to stabilize the Indian innings. Gambhir scored a vital half century before being dismissed by off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
Pujara did play positively in the second innings as he notched up his eight hundred in test cricket as India declared soon after to see them give New Zealand a target of 475 runs to win the game. The hosts came out with positive intent with the ball as right arm fast bowler Umesh Yadav trapped Latham right in front to see visitors lose their first wicket. New Zealand batsmen did play positively but the pitch conditions had deteriorated quite a lot that meant odd bowl kept turned viciously at times. Ravi Ashwin once again proved to nemesis for the visitors as they ran through the middle order to end with 7 wickets in the second innings. He dismissed tail-ender Trent Boult to see India finish off style to win the game by 321 runs and whitewash New Zealand in three match test series.
Ravi Ashwin was named man of the match and man of the series for his outstanding contributions with the ball for India.