Rahul Dravid had announced retirement shortly after India had been whitewashed 0-4 in Australia in 2011/12. Then, just ahead of the two-Test series against New Zealand, VVS Laxman announced retirement as well. In the first Test match, in Laxman’s home town Hyderabad, India had two new faces at Nos. 3 and 5 – Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli.
Not that it mattered. India won both Test matches, by an innings and 115 runs in Hyderabad, and by 5 wickets in Bengaluru. Pujara (159) and Kohli (58) impressed as replacements, as did MS Dhoni (73). India got 438. Pujara and Kohli would go on to form the backbone of the Indian batting line-up in the 2010s. India vs New Zealand Part 17, 2010/11: Harbhajan Singh’s Bat Stuns New Zealand.
By the fourth morning, they had bowled out New Zealand twice, by 138 and 164. There was only one half-century, Kane Williamson’s 52 in the second innings. R Ashwin, an off-spinner relatively new to international cricket, was the wrecker-in-chief, with 6-31 and 6-54. He was supported by Pragyan Ojha (3-44 and 3-48).
New Zealand did better in Bengaluru. Ross Taylor led the charge with a 127-ball 113, and New Zealand got 365 despite Ojha’s 5-99. Kohli led the Indian response with 103 as Tim Southee (7-64) kept chipping away at the Indian batters. India vs New Zealand Part 16, 2008/09: India Win Series in New Zealand After 41 Years.
New Zealand led by 12, and eventually set India 261 despite Ashwin’s 5-69. The chase could have been tricky, but Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag added 77 in 71 balls to take the sting out of the New Zealand attack. Once again Pujara (48), Kohli (51*), and Dhoni (48*) all got runs, and India won in the fourth evening.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 21, 2021 07:48 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).