VVS Laxman hailed wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s fighting fifty on Day 4, which put the hosts in a commanding position against New Zealand in Kanpur on Sunday.
Wriddhiman Saha roared back to form with 61 not out as India declared their second innings at 234 for 7 to set New Zealand a target of 284 runs to win the series opener.
VVS Laxman: Wriddhiman Saha Is The Ultimate Fighter And Team Man
The fifty was Wriddhiman Saha’s sixth in Test cricket and first since August 2017. The 37-year-old, who didn’t keep wickets on Day 3 due to a stiff neck, was in visible pain throughout his knock, but he batted through it to put India in the driver’s seat on a penultimate day. The 37-year-old Wriddhiman Saha has amassed 1313 runs in 39 Tests averaging 29.84. He has 3 tons and 6 fifties.
Hailing Wriddhiman Saha’s contribution in the second innings, VVS Laxman said: “Wriddhiman Saha is the ultimate fighter and the ultimate team man.”
VVS Laxman has been working closely with Bengal’s veteran keeper Wriddhiman Saha for a few years now at Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise and, therefore, knows the 37-year-old inside-out. VVS Laxman also praised the 37-year-old keeper who battled stiff neck but showed that fight and determination that reflected the true character of the champion player.
The contributions of Wriddhiman Saha, Shreyas Iyer, 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.
New Zealand Manages A Thrilling Draw In The 1st Test
Chasing a daunting victory target of 284 on a worn-out track, New Zealand was four for one when bad light stopped play. Opener Will Young was given lbw to Ravichandran Ashwin, which could have been reversed, but the batsman was late to review the decision. Tom Latham resumed on two on Monday with nightwatchman Will Somerville, who is yet to open his account, for company.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel put in a tremendous effort in challenging conditions. The fifth-day pitch in Kanpur showed little sign of deterioration, and its slowness and lack of carry continued to negate the threat of its low bounce.
Two Indian-born cricketers, Ajaz Patel and Rachin Ravindra, showed remarkable resilience under fading light and on a deteriorating track to defy India’s famous spinners, eking out a thrilling draw for New Zealand in the opening Test on Monday.
Indian spinners, led by Ravindra Jadeja, put up one of their most persevering performances in recent times. Still, Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel (2 off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Rachin Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) consumed 8.4 overs after the fall of the ninth wicket to keep New Zealand on an even keel in the two-match series.
A lot of credit should also go to night-watchman Will Somerville (36 off 110 balls), who played the entire fifth morning first to raise visions of the improbable draw.
India 345 (Iyer 105, Gill 52, Jadeja 50, Southee 5-69, Jamieson 3-91) and 234 for 7 declared. (Iyer 65, Saha 61, Jamieson 3-40, Southee 3-75) drew with New Zealand 296 (Latham 95, Young 89, Axar 5-62, Ashwin 3-82) and 165 for 9 (Latham 52, Jadeja 4-40, Ashwin 3-35)