Black Caps thumped by India

Mohammed Shami of India appeals during game one of the One Day International series between New...
Mohammed Shami of India appeals during game one of the One Day International series between New Zealand and India at McLean Park on January 23, 2019 in Napier. Photo: Getty Images
It didn't take long for India to deliver the Black Caps a hefty dose of reality.

Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal ripped through the New Zealand batting lineup, and then Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli cruised with the bat, as India claimed an eight-wicket win with 14 overs to spare in the first of five one-day internationals.

After opting to bat first, the Black Caps were routed for 157 in perfect batting conditions at McLean Park in Napier, lasting just 38 overs, before India's top order showed them how it's done.

With the sun blazing down on a pacey wicket, and short boundaries inviting a healthy peppering, the Black Caps would have been eyeing 300 – at worst – when they set out to bat. Instead, their first completed innings in nearly four years at the revamped venue was absolutely not worth the wait.

Only Kane Williamson reached 25 as the Black Caps proved incapable of playing the Indian legspinners, and were outclassed by Shami's searing starting seam spell.

It's a significant wake-up call, after the destruction the Black Caps had delivered against Sri Lanka earlier this month. Scores of 371, 319 and 364 were compiled with ultimate ease, and while India were always going to be a significant step up, it was their batting which arguably delivered more fear than their bowling.

As it turns out, they're not too shabby at both aspects, as Shami and the spinners showed the level the Black Caps will need to be at come the World Cup.

Shami started the rout, claiming the scalps of openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro in his first two overs. It's now 12 straight innings where the opening partnership hasn't reached 35, and both batsmen saw deliveries from Shami jag back in and shatter their stumps.

That only brought Ross Taylor to the crease though, and considering the form he was in – having carved six consecutive fifties – there was little reason to panic as he and Williamson started a slow rebuild.

However, as Taylor reached 24 and looked to accelerate, his run of milestones came to an end at the hands of the deceptive Chahal. Efficiently changing his pace with variable amounts of drift and loop, Chahal lured Taylor out of his crease, and all he could do was offer a meek return catch to the ecstatic bowler.

Tom Latham departed in identical fashion – Chahal clinging to a low chance - and when Kedar Jadhav ended the brief stay of Henry Nicholls, Williamson was left with a mighty load to carry.

He was fortunate to not be in the pavilion himself – dropped at fine leg on 20 by Jadhav, but, dabbing like it was 2017, he kept things ticking over, and found the boundary just enough to maintain hope of a competitive total.

He passed 50 for the 47th time in ODIs, but received no help - Mitchell Santner made it three straight players to reach double digits but not pass 14 - before Williamson, in attempt to up the tempo, holed out down the ground for 64.

And considering the specialist batsmen had no answers for the spin, there was no hope for the tail, tumbling from 146-6 to 157 all out as Yadav and Chahal tied them in knots – India's spinners ending with 7-99 in 23 overs.

On a supposed batsman's paradise, it was nowhere near good enough from the Black Caps, and their bowlers couldn't save the day.

Doug Bracewell snagged the wicket of Rohit Sharma, caught at slip, but a 91-run partnership between Dhawan and Kohli meant that even when Kohli was caught behind, India could still coast home as they snared an ominous series lead.


 

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