Mishra spins India to series win over N.Zealand
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra claimed five wickets to skittle New Zealand out for a paltry 79 as India thrashed the Black Caps by 190 runs to clinch the five-match one-day international series 3-2 in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.
The visitors, who were chasing a target of 270, registered their lowest ODI total against India as the innings lasted for just 23.1 overs.
Mishra, who returned with impressive figures of 5-18 in six overs, claimed 15 wickets in the five matches and was judged the man of the match and the player of the series.
Earlier Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli set up the win with their gritty half-centuries to help India post 269 for six after electing to bat first in the series decider.
But it was the Mishra-led bowling attack that helped India keep their winning momentum after whitewashing New Zealand in the three Tests.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced spin into the attack in the ninth over after the pacers sent the New Zealand openers packing.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel got the big wicket of opposition skipper Kane Williamson for 27 as he mistimed a drive to be caught at long-off.
Mishra’s double blow in the 16th over to get Ross Taylor (19) and BJ Watling (0) out in the space of three deliveries derailed New Zealand’s chase. The visitors slipped to 66 for five.
“Mishra’s beauty is he bowls slow, so as a keeper you have time to recover the ball to stump batsmen. And in tandem with Axar, who bowls flat and quick, it was very good,” said Dhoni, who affected one stumping off Mishra.
Debutant off-spinner Jayant Yadav got his first international wicket after he trapped Corey Anderson for nought.
Mishra, who recorded his second five-wicket haul in ODIs, then ran through the New Zealand middle and lower-order as the innings saw a total of five ducks.
The Black Caps’ previous low against India was their 103 in Chennai in 2010.
“We expect a lot more of our batting, and losing 8 for 20 or whatever it is is unacceptable. Playing against one of the best sides in the world, there is room to learn,” said Williamson.
– Sharma-Kohli show –
On the batting front, Sharma (70) and Kohli (65) put together a 79-run second wicket stand to lay a solid foundation for the middle order.
“I think Virat was superb with the bat, we got off to a decent start,” said Dhoni.
India were at one point eyeing a bigger score, only to be pulled back by the visiting bowlers, as pacer Trent Boult and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi claimed two wickets each.
The in-form Kohli put on 71 runs for the third wicket with Dhoni (41) and played a controlled knock to register his 38th ODI fifty, striking a fine balance between attack and defence.
Dhoni, who is trying to settle in his new number four slot, played a watchful innings before being trapped lbw to Mitchell Santner after missing an attempted sweep.
New Zealand spinners kept chipping away with Sodhi getting Manish Pandey for nought and then the big wicket of Kohli in the 44th over to check India’s surge.
However a late assault from Kedar Jadhav, who remained unbeaten on 39, and Patel, who struck an 18-ball 24, gave the hosts’ total more muscle on a tricky pitch.