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Boult from the blue: Black Caps destroy India

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Cricket,
Publish Date
Thursday, 31 January 2019, 2:42PM
Trent Boult produced one of the greatest spells of his career to maul the Indian top order. (Photo / Getty)
Trent Boult produced one of the greatest spells of his career to maul the Indian top order. (Photo / Getty)

Where, exactly, did that come from?

India, fresh off three consecutive ODI thrashings of the Black Caps, strolled out to bat at Seddon Park having lost just nine wickets all series, and supremely confident of producing another dominant performance.

92 runs later, they had lost 10 more, being completely ripped to shreds in their lowest score ever mustered on New Zealand soil, their seventh worst of all-time, and their worst ever defeat in terms of balls remaining.

It was a total that took just 14.4 overs to chase down, as New Zealand's batsmen took an aggressive approach on their way to an eight-wicket win. While Martin Guptill (An amusing 14 from four balls) and Kane Williamson (11) didn't last long, Ross Taylor added a rapid 37 not out and Henry Nicholls – promoted to the top of the order in place of the dropped Colin Munro – looked composed in an unbeaten 30.

Able to still play in the attacking nature desired by the Black Caps coaches at the top of the order, Nicholls can also show requisite caution when necessary, and his opening effort was a promising sign as the Black Caps try to fix their top order woes.

However, it was hardly a stern test required for the New Zealand batsmen, after Trent Boult produced one of the greatest spells of his career to maul the Indian top order.

Boult remarkably went 10 overs unchanged as he claimed the stunning figures of 10-4-21-5, swinging the ball with venom as no Indian batsman could answer his scintillating spell.

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya were his victims. Dhawan and Jedhav were trapped plumb lbw by searing inswingers, Gill and Sharma offered sharp return catches, and Pandya fended at a short ball; caught behind, his ultimate fate.

Trent Boult claimed a five-for as India were skittled out. Photo / Photosport

Trent Boult claimed a five-for as India were skittled out. Photo / Photosport

Boult had bowled well in the series to date without reward, largely due to India's class with the bat. But with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni both missing, their usual middle-order strength was diluted, and as Boult was causing havoc at one end, Colin de Grandhomme struck at the other.

In perhaps the most surprising element in an innings full of shocks, de Grandhomme – he of the ODI bowling average of 54.8 – came on at first change and immediately caused problems with his nagging seam away from the batsmen.

He had assistance from some truly rash Indian batting. Given a rare chance for extended time at the crease, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik both flung the bat at line-and-length seamers outside off stump. Rayudu's attempt flew to short extra cover, where Guptill claimed a scorcher above his head, while Karthik got an edge through to Tom Latham behind the stumps.

Both were gone for ducks, and when de Grandhomme knocked over Bhuvneshwar Kumar's stumps shortly after, India were at 40-7, and staring down the barrel at their lowest ODI total.

Some brief swatting from Pandya got them past that mark - 54 – and Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal added 25 for the ninth wicket to save the smallest of face.

But, as Jimmy Neesham wrapped up the innings, India had their unwanted place in the record books. And, after the Black Caps had no problems cruising to victory, their World Cup hopes suddenly look a lot brighter than 24 hours earlier.

Boult's five-for:

5.5 overs: Shikhar Dhawan 13 (20)

A full inswinger traps the prolific Indian opener plumb in front.

7.6 overs: Rohit Sharma 7 (23) The stand-in captain gets another one moving in sharply, pushing the ball back to the bowler who takes it easily.

11.6 overs: Shubman Gill 9 (21) A good length delivery and a replay of the Sharma dismissal. Gill drives on the up, caught and bowled.

13.1 overs: Kedar Jadhav 1 (7) Another vicious inswinger traps the batsman in front. It's reviewed but could hardly be any more dead - crashing into middle stump, three-quarters up.

19.4 overs: Hardik Pandya 16 (20) Boult gets his fifth as Pandya can't deal with a short one, the ball brushing his gloves on the way through to Tom Latham behind the stumps.

FOR ALL THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED: 

 

Not since Queen teamed up with David Bowie has the New Zealand public heard so much about the adversity that comes from being under pressure.

India's triple demolition of the Black Caps in their ODI series to date has followed a familiar theme, and it doesn't matter which member of the Black Caps is speaking, you hear the common lament – "India have put us under pressure."

Where has this pressure been applied, you may ask? Well, whether it be Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult or Gary Stead talking, they'll all tell you the same thing – India's bowlers have put the Black Caps under pressure from the start with early wickets, and conversely, the Black Caps' opening bowlers haven't put India put pressure at all.

As monotonous as the line may be, they're not wrong, and Taylor offered the bluntest assessment of how India have dominated the series so far.

"We just haven't been up to it. If we're brutally honest, with both bat and ball we haven't been able to penetrate. We back ourselves to keep wickets in hand with the bat, we haven't been able to do that - India have put us under pressure for long periods of time and got wickets at crucial times. In New Zealand, if you're three or four down with still 25 overs to go, you're still a long way behind the game."

The Black Caps are yet to have a moment where they have been in control of any of the three one-dayers, and if these are the days it never rains but it pours, then the Black Caps' despondency may not be over yet.

Not since 2005 have New Zealand lost four consecutive ODIs at home - as part of a seven-match losing streak at the hands of Australia – but despite minor improvements as the series has progressed, nothing to date has shown an indication that a sudden turnaround is on the cards.

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