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Friday, April 19, 2024

India aim to wrap it up with spin trick

BANGALORE: A buoyant India will bank on their spin twins to sweep the short series against struggling New Zealand when the second and final Test starts in Bangalore on Friday.

Team India

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 12 wickets and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha six as India underlined their supremacy on home soil by winning the first Test in Hyderabad by an innings and 115 runs.Ross Taylor’s Black Caps collapsed twice against the spin duo, managing just 159 in the first innings and 164 in the second, with only Kane Williamson (52) scoring a half-century in the match for the out-played tourists.Ashwin and Ojha, both 25, also played major roles in India’s victory in the last home Test series, against the West Indies in November 2011, sharing 42 wickets in three matches.India broke little sweat in Hyderabad, their first Test after the retirement of batting veterans Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, as the batsmen posted 438 in the first innings before their spinners took over.Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home team will be hot favourites to start the new season with a 2-0 series win, following their dismal show in the past 12 months when they lost eight successive overseas Tests in England and Australia.India expect Ashwin and Ojha to continue their excellent form and build on the early success in the busy home season, which also features four Test matches each against England and Australia.”We had a tough last year, but it happens with every team,” said Ashwin. “We have put that behind. Hopefully, we can continue and have a great season. There are still nine more Tests to go this season.”Ashwin credited his success to Ojha’s steady bowling at the other end.”Ojha is someone who I have played with since I was 16 and we have always enjoyed each other’s company,” he said. “We bowl well together because we build pressure very well.”Cheteshwar Pujara’s form ahead of tougher assignments against England and Australia also augurs well for India, who are looking for Dravid’s replacement at the vital number-three position.Pujara, 24, impressed with his temperament and technique in only his fourth Test, as he hit a maiden Test century (159) in Hyderabad to help his side post a big total.But middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, who replaced Laxman, needs to deliver in Bangalore after contributing just three in the last match.New Zealand will hope for a much improved performance from their batsmen against spin if they are to avoid a second successive Test series defeat. They lost both Tests in the West Indies before this tour.Only Williamson and opener Brendon McCullum offered any resistance in the second innings at Hyderabad, allowing India to win comfortably with a day to spare.The Black Caps will also be keen to put in a better bowling performance in what will be their bowling coach Damien Wright’s last Test.Wright, an Australian who was only appointed in July last year, announced Tuesday he would quit after next month’s World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka for family reasons.It was a further blow to the tourists, who have lost four of their seven Tests this year, with just one win and two draws.AFP

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