New Zealand won the first ODI by six wickets, courtesy a brilliant 200-run fourth wicket partnership between Ross Taylor and Tom Latham.
India won the toss and chose to bat first and made one change in the playing XI, as Dinesh Karthik replaced Manish Pandey in the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. India posted 280/8 in 50 overs in the first innings thanks to a gutsy 121-run innings by the skipper Virat Kohli, which was overshadowed by a match-winning century by New Zealand’s new number five, Tom Latham.
In the second innings, New Zealand’s openers gave them a solid start, as Martin Guptill scored 32 and Colin Munro scored 28 runs. Tom Latham then scored a brilliant knock of 103 and Taylor fell just short of a well deserved century on 95.
New Zealand was struggling at 80 for three when Tom Latham came into bat with Ross Taylor at the other end. The two added 200 runs for the fifth wicket and dominated the Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Latham played the spinners with complete ease and used the sweep shot to great effect to tackle the two wrist spinners. Latham said,
“Everybody is different in the way they play spin in different conditions. I think the Indians play the different way, they are used to these conditions, and they have got their game, one thing that comes to me is sweep that I have played throughout my career. It’s something that I find easier to play than hitting down the ground.”
The left-handed batsman also enjoyed success the last time the Kiwi’s came to India,
“The other guys may find hitting down the ground easier. It’s important to have different game plans for different conditions and try and stick to that,”
Latham used the conventional sweep as well as the reverse sweep to his advantage and disturbed the lengths of the spinners on Ross Taylor’s recommendation. The Kiwi’s have been preparing for a long time for this series and also played two warm-up matches before the ODI series started where Latham scored a half-century and a century.
“I am not too sure (about the secret to success). We had a lot of preparation back home, coming out of the winter, when we come to India, it is obviously massive focus on spin and we lucky enough to be here last year, so we knew a little bit how India played and watching them against the Australian team, so lot of work in terms of spin and playing in the middle. I put a little bit of work in terms of coming over here and playing spin. On surfaces back home they were a little bit drier and quite responsive to spin. So, that was (a part) of the preparation,”
Latham who is a specialist opener batted at number five in the first ODI and felt it is not difficult to adopt a change in the batting order,
“No, not really. (Not difficult to adapt to the batting order). It was nice to have those two warm-up games beforehand, and contribute in those games and start against spin. I had played in that position (No 5) before when I started playing for New Zealand. So, it’s not a position which is unfamiliar to me. It was more of a tactical shift than anything. Coming in the middle when the ball is a little bit softer and playing a bit more spin. It is nice that I adapted quickly,”