The New Zealand bowlers have been peppering Sehwag with the short stuff from the first over and they almost got their reward. A short ball from Chris Martin had Sehwag going for the pull shot but he just didn’t connect. Flynn running back at square leg gets his hands to it but couldn’t hold on. It was a tough, tough chance.
India 39-0 after 8 overs
Gambhir 18, Sehwag 21
This is already the best opening stand for India in 9 innings. The disaster in Australia was preceded by some difficult times in England as well. Remember? Meanwhile, Sehwag has starting hitting the fours.
India 29-0 after 7 overs
Gambhir 17, Sehwag 12
Two fours off consecutive balls from Sehwag — the first one was punched off the backfoot through point and then second one was gently through the region between the point and gully region. Good stuff.
Sehwag’s slow start
At the moment, all the scoring is being done by Gambhir. But one quite likes the way Sehwag is playing. He bides his time for the first hour or so and then there’s carnage. Can’t wait for that to begin.
Meanwhile in the U19 World Cup semi-final
New Zealand Under-19s have just lost their first wicket and are 30/1 after 10 overs. New Zealand Under-19s require another 180 runs with 9 wickets and 39.5 overs remaining. India, batting first, made 209-9.
India 13-0 after 4 overs
Gambhir 11, Sehwag 2
This is a vital phase for India — last ball in the fourth over was edged through the slips by Gambhir. Not very convincing. India needs the openers to get off to a quick start. The first time India went without Dravid and VVS was in the 2010 Nagpur Test against South Africa. Both were injured. This time, they are both retired. The other seniors need to show how good they are.
The match begins
Gambhir starts off with a four. Martin strayed on the legs and the left-hander, neatly turned it away to fine leg. Sehwag is looking pretty fit as well. Big series for both the openers — time to find their mojo again.
Sachin is enough
For all you Tendulkar fans, a wonderful stat: Sachin Tendulkar has scored more runs, 100s & 50s than entire New Zealand squad put together!
Ganguly as selector please!
You listen to Ganguly talk and one can’t help but feel that he needs to be the selection committee at least. He felt that Rahane should’ve made the playing XI but then reckoned that Raina would get the nod instead. He was spot on. But we need selectors who go with their gut instinct. Not just numbers.
On the other hand, this might be Raina’s last chance to seal a spot in the Test team. He’s already played 15 chances and it’s about time that the others start getting chances instead.
Dhoni wins the toss for a change and without a second thought, elects to bat. No Rahane in the squad, which means that Suresh Raina will play. The Mumbai batsman is unlucky to miss out. Piyush Chawla, S Badrinath and Ishant Sharma are also not playing. According to the team sheet, it looks like Virat Kohli will bat at number three.
A reality check awaits the Indian cricket team as it gears up to begin life without the famed batting duo of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman when they take on a lowly New Zealand in the first Test of the two-match series here tomorrow.
Sachin Tendulkar is the only player left of the ‘Fabulous Five’ brigade after Sourav Ganguly, followed by Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, and most recently, VVS Laxman bid adieu to international cricket.
Now the challenge for India is to overcome the transition phase in the upcoming home season, in which the team would play 10 Tests, 13 ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, apart from the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka in September.
The Hyderabad curator has already promised that the pitch should take turn from day 2, so expect the team that wins the toss to bat first. It looks pretty dry with a lot of dry patches so expect that to come into play as the match wears on.
Our playing XI for the first Test: Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav.