India lost yet another dead rubber and this time it was against the Black Caps. The Indian batting continued in the same merry way as the other games where the pitches were more suited to the batters. The pitch at Auckland had something for the seam bowlers and the Indian batsmen kept swinging and lost wickets at regular intervals to get bowled out for 149. The game was shortened by rain and India decided to bat first which actually surprised Daniel Vettori as he claimed that he would have bowled first if he had won the toss.
The Indian batting started aiming for 300 or something with Sehwag and Ghambir both trying to hit out, but were still able to provide a decent start. Once Ghambir departed Sehwag was joined by Raina who again continued the approach. After Raina departed playing an ugly swing across the line, Sehwag joined him pretty soon with another rash shot.
India was three down and the team needed a partnership which never happened. Jesse Ryder was brought into the attack and he took the wickets of Dhoni and Yuvraj which put the Indians completely out of the game. Rohit Sharma tried to get some respectability to the total but did not get too much help from the others in the top order.
It was a really bad performance by the Indians after dominating the series. The New Zealanders would have been happy to get the win as it would give them the much needed confidence ahead of the test series. This is the third time in last one year that India has lost the dead rubber after dominating the series till then.
The test series gets underway in Hamilton on the 18th and it will be interesting to see how the Indian batters go about their business. It will be a different team with Dravid and Laxman coming in for Raina and Rohit. I am sure that the approach will be much measured and calculated than the mindless swinging of the bat we saw in the last game. The test wickets for sure are going to have something in it for the bowlers and the Indians should respect the same. Hopefully it will be an Indian win which will make this series more memorable.