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India-New Zealand Test Series Review – The Home Dominance Continues

Indian players pose for a picture with the Paytm trophy as they beat New Zealand by 372 runs in the 2nd Test match, at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai
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After the nail-biting finish in the fading light at Kanpur, India wrapped up the victory in style in the broad sunshine of Mumbai, handing the World Champions their heaviest Test defeat by 372 runs to seal the series victory 1-0. This victory takes India back above the Kiwis as the number one ranked Test team in the world, and here are the major talking points of this fascinating battle between the top two nations in the longest format.

R Ashwin is the greatest match-winner India has ever produced in Test cricket


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India have had plenty of great players in their storied history in Test match cricket, but Ravichandran Ashwin might just go down as the most impactful Test player to ever play for the country. The all-rounder picked up his 9th Man of the Series award against New Zealand, taking him to second on the all-time list behind only the great Muttiah Muralitharan

To put that number into context, the next best Indian on the list is Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag with five each, while Kumble and Kohli only have four and three, respectively. In this Test series, Ashwin passed Harbhajan Singh in the wicket’s column in Test cricket while also becoming the 2nd Indian to reach 300 scalps at home.

The off-spinner is now also the leading wicket-taker in 2021 with 52 wickets at an average of 16 in this calendar year, and at 34-years old, Ashwin continues to age like a fine wine and get better with each passing series.

India’s dominance at home under Virat Kohli is unparalleled 


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Some of the hardest tasks in all of sports include beating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals and more recently Team India in India in Test cricket. The Men in Blue secured their 14th consecutive Test series victory at home over New Zealand, a daunting record that is second to none in cricket history. Traditionally, India have always been successful on their home soil, but this supremacy has reached a different level under the stewardship of Kohli. Virat has the highest win percentage as a Test captain at home at 77.4% and has won a stunning 24 of his 31 Tests as skipper while losing only two.

Despite missing some key names – Rohit, Rahul, Bumrah, Pant – India decimated the World Champions in the second Test at the Wankhede, registering their biggest Test victory in terms of runs following a stunning all-round performance.

Ajaz Patel’s tryst with destiny 


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Returning home to the city of his birth, Ajaz Patel changed the course of history at the Wankhede stadium. The left-armer became only the third bowler after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble to pick up all ten wickets in an innings and the first to do it away from home.

Patel also finished with 14 in the match, registering the best-ever figures by a bowler in a Test match against India. While the harrowing nature of the result might make his effort a little bittersweet, nothing can take the shine away from his epic performance. Patel bowled with great accuracy and skill, consistently landing the ball in the right areas on Day’s 1 and 2 to get the most out of a helpful Mumbai pitch and troubling some of the best players of spin in world cricket.

Ajaz Patel might not even play in New Zealand’s next Test against Bangladesh at Mount Maunganui, but no matter what he does for the rest of his career, the left-arm spinner will now always be a rich part of cricketing folklore as the boy from Bombay who returned to leave his mark in Mumbai.


[Featured Image Credit: ANI]