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WTC Final: Top 3 batting performances by Team India in India-New Zealand Tests

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Cricket fans are eagerly waiting for the World Test Championship (WTC) final between Team India and New Zealand. The mega contest is still some distance away as it will be held in Southampton from June 18 to June 22.

Team India confirmed their spot in the WTC final by hammering England 3-1 in the Test series at home. Earlier, New Zealand became the first team to qualify after Australia’s proposed tour of South Africa was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. New Zealand themselves had put up commendable performances to overcome West Indies and Pakistan at home.

Looking at the head-to-head record, Team India and New Zealand have taken on each other in 59 Tests to date. Team India have been the dominant side with 21 wins, while New Zealand have managed to triumph in 12 encounters. 26 India-New Zealand Tests have produced no results.


Memorable batting efforts by Team India players vs New Zealand

Over the years, batsmen from Team India have come up with some excellent performances against the Kiwis. We take a look at three such knocks.

#3 Rahul Dravid (222) – 2003 Ahmedabad Test

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid made a name for himself through a number of marathon knocks for Team India during his illustrious career. One of his many memorable innings came against New Zealand in the first Test of the two-match series in Ahmedabad in October 2003.

Team India won the toss and elected to bat first, after which Dravid laid the foundation for a massive first-innings total with a dogged double hundred. The Indian legend, who was recently shown losing his cool in a TV commercial, batted with utmost patience to compile 222 runs in 578 minutes, during which he faced 387 balls. ‘The Wall’ hit 28 fours and one six during his knock.

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Over the course of his knock, Dravid featured in a 130-run stand with VVS Laxman (64) and a 182-run partnership with Sourav Ganguly (100 not out). He frustrated the likes of Daryl Tuffey (1 for 103) and Daniel Vettori (2 for 128) as Team India declared their innings on exactly 500 for 5.

Nathan Astle’s 103 saw the Kiwis respond with 340. Dravid contributed 73 in the second innings as well, and Team India set New Zealand a tough target of 370. Craig McMillan’s unbeaten 83 ensured a draw for the visitors.


#2 Mohammed Azharuddin (192) – 1990 Auckland Test

Mohammed Azharuddin
Mohammed Azharuddin

Team India had a horrific record away from home in the 90s, and Mohammed Azharuddin led the side in a number of those games. However, during the third India-New Zealand Test in Auckland in February 1990, he led from the front with the bat.

Ian Smith’s spectacular 136-ball 173 saw New Zealand recover from 85 for 6 to post 391 in their first innings. Team India responded in emphatic fashion as Azharuddin scored a magnificent 192. Occupying the crease for 421 minutes, the elegant batsman hit 26 fours in his 259-ball knock.

Azhar looked in complete ease during his stay out in the middle against a quality Kiwi bowling attack comprising Richard Hadlee, Danny Morrison, Martin Snedden and Shane Thomson. He was involved in two impressive partnerships with lower-order batsmen.

Azhar first added 88 with Kiran More (50) and 86 with Atul Wassan (53). The Team India skipper was the last man out as the visitors put up 482 on the board.

The high-scoring match saw Andrew Jones and Martin Crowe easing their way to hundreds in New Zealand’s second innings. Set 393 for victory, Team India made 149 for no loss as the match meandered to a dull draw.


#1 Vinoo Mankad (231) – 1956 Chennai Test

Vinoo Mankad
Vinoo Mankad

One of the greatest all-rounders in Team India’s Test history, Vinoo Mankad dominated the New Zealand bowling during the fifth Test of the five-match series in India in 1956. Chennai was the venue for the final Test, and Mankad came up with a spectacular double hundred, opening the innings.

Team India decided to bat first after winning the toss, and Mankad occupied the crease for 525 minutes, during which he scored 231 runs with the aid of 21 fours. This was the same Test in which Mankad and Pankaj Roy (173) were involved in a historic 413-run stand for the opening wicket. The partnership remains the record for the highest ever in Team India’s Test history.

Mankad had things his way with the bat as he thwarted a New Zealand bowling attack which had John Reid, Tony MacGibbon and Johnny Hayes. Both Mankad and Roy feasted on the hapless Kiwi bowling. Skipper Polly Umrigar also helped himself to an unbeaten 79 as Team India declared their innings at 537 for 3.

Subhash Gupte’s 5 for 72 rolled over New Zealand for 209 in their first innings, and they were made to follow on. Gupte and Mankad then claimed four Kiwi scalps each in the second innings. New Zealand managed only 219, and Team India won the Test by an innings and 109 runs.


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