VVS Laxman said that he did not see any intent from Wriddhiman Saha or Axar Patel to score quickly towards the end of the fourth day, and India could have chosen to make New Zealand bat for a few more overs than they eventually did.
India could have declared their second innings earlier and opted to have a few more overs to bowl at New Zealand on Day 4, and the decision to carry on may have had an effect on the outcome of the 1st Test match, said a former batsman VVS Laxman. New Zealand managed to force the match into a draw with just one wicket in hand, with the umpires calling an end to play on Day 5 due to bad light.
VVS Laxman Feels India Could Have Declared 5 Overs Earlier As He Didn’t See Any Intent From Axar Patel Or Wriddhiman Saha
On Day 4, India managed to pull things back after collapsing to 51/5 to reach 234/7, with Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel batting out 124 balls for an unbeaten 67-run partnership. Wriddhiman Saha roared back to form with an unbeaten 61 as India declared their second innings at 234 for 7 to set New Zealand a target of 284 runs to win the series opener.
The contributions of Wriddhiman Saha(61*), Shreyas Iyer(65), and Ravichandran Ashwin (32) bailed India out of troubled waters after they were reduced to 51 for 5 in the first session after Kyle Jamieson (3-40) and Tim Southee (3-75) ran through the top-order. Shreyas Iyer followed his first-innings 105 with a crucial 65, forging 50-plus stands with Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha for the sixth and seventh-wickets respectively.
“They could have probably declared five overs before they did. I didn’t see any intent from Axar Patel or Wriddhiman Saha. Yes, you wanted to get to a score which was about 234 but we all know that the last few overs is very tough for any batter, regardless of how established or new they are. So they should have bowled about five overs more yesterday and that could have been the difference,” said VVS Laxman on Star Sports after the match.
VVS Laxman also pointed out that India should have declared a few overs earlier, which he felt would have made the difference as New Zealand would have struggled with spin coming into play. New Zealand was four for one when bad light stopped play, chasing a daunting victory target of 284 on a worn-out track. Opener Will Young was given lbw to Ravichandran Ashwin, which could have been reversed, but the batsman was late to review the decision.
VVS Laxman: India Must Address The Performance Of Top Order Batsmen
VVS Laxman praised the bowlers for their work on Day 5 and said that India has to look at their top-order batting woes. India’s top five put up just 145 runs in the first innings and 51 runs in the second.
“Today, the bowlers stuck to their task. If at all there is one thing that needs to be addressed is the batting. The performance of the top order batsman,” VVS Laxman said.
India’s top order (1-4), comprising two senior batters in Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, along with openers Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill, averaged only 21.25 in the Kanpur Test. This is the second time in 2021 that the Indian top order has averaged this low in a Test at home since 2010, the other being against England in Ahmedabad, where the batters combined to average 16.50 – both are among the top five in the period.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 26 and 22 in Kanpur, was dismissed in a similar manner as he was criticized for having a technical flaw in his game. Mayank Agarwal managed scores of 13 and 17 in the Kanpur Test. On other hand, Ajinkya Rahane scored 35 and 4 in the 1st Test. One of the trios has to make way for Virat Kohli, who will return in the 2nd Test.