India will probably still be kicking themselves and rueing their luck for missing out on a victory in the opening Test and letting the Kiwis steal a draw in the first Test.
The hosts, defending 283 in the final innings, had their guests on the ropes at 155-9 with a victory in sight and almost a foregone conclusion. But their trio of on-form spinners, who had taken 17 of the 19 Kiwi wickets until that point, just couldn’t find another breakthrough, as the pairing of debutant Rachin Ravindra and number 11 batsman Ajaz Patel, both of Indian descent ironically hung on and somehow survived 52 balls to save the game.
With that, a big opportunity to avenge that painful defeat in the final of the World Test Championship went missing.
India rested former captain Virat Kohli for the first Test but he is expected to be back for the second. His arrival opens up a selection headache for new head coach Rahul Dravid, who now has to decide whether to drop Shreyas Iyer, who was player of the match on debut or cut Ajinkya Rahana, who has been a mainstay of Indian batting but is out of form and has averaged a mere 24.39 in his last 16 Tests.
The last time New Zealand visited India and managed to leave without a Test series defeat was way back in 2003. And the last time, New Zealand visited India and won a Test series was never.
Their great escape in the opening Test has opened up the opportunity for the Black Caps to accomplish one of the two feats, depending on their ambitions.
How the opening Test ended may give the impression that the Kiwis were poor for the entirety of the game when that was not the case. In fact, the side from Down Under had pretty much-gone toe to toe with the Indians for much of the game until their collapse on the final day of the game on a difficult surface. Many before had crumbled under similar circumstances before them.
Kohli’s comeback could spell more trouble for the Kiwis, who would want their spinners to step up. The trio of Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, and William Somerville picked up just three wickets between themselves over two innings in the first game.