Dambulla, Sri Lanka: The first match of the Dambulla Triangular Series was played between India and New Zealand. India accepted defeat, when Taylor announced New Zealand will bat. Other formalities were completed in a span of 78.2 overs when New Zealand scored their biggest win over India in terms of runs.
The New Zealand B team, lacking the presence of Vettori, McCullum and Ryder, announced their bench strength to the world in style during their preperation for World Cup 2011 in the sub-continent. Captain-by-accident, Ross Taylor led from the front when after winning the toss, the Indian pacer duo of Praveen Kumar and Nehra has put NZ under clouds by taking 3 quick wickets. Taylor with old horse Styris, making his return to Kiwis team after being dropped 6-months back, stopped the wicket-flow and increased the run-flow. When the partnership broke, they had already added 190 runs for th 4th wicket. Enough to have 300 run target in sight.
But, the bowlers did not let others flourish. New Zealand still managed to reach 288 runs when they lost their last wicket in 48.5 overs. Dambulla has been already described as the pitch where tosses win matches, specially in a day-night match as the floodlight is questionable. No wonder, India had lost hope once they were asked to field. Yet, to complete the final humiliation they must bat.
They started well, as the openers Sehwag and Karthik could hold the innings till the end of 6th over, and managed a decent 33 runs against the fiery duo of Mills and Tuffy. Yet, as the saying goes, with Sehwag India flows, his hits make them hit and his misses makes them kiss dust. Sehwag was the first man to go. The parade followed.
India were bowled out for their lowest score against New Zealand and their 5th ever lowest score of 88 runs in 29.3 overs. All the Kiwi bowlers joined the party thrown open by the pace duo of Mills and Tuffy.
India must have thought that like Mills and Boons, even Mills and Tuffy will give them some memories to smile. Probably they can take heart with the fact that it was not their most crucial match, just the first match, which generally they tend to lose in almost all series starter. This is an early wakeup call for the World No. 2 in ODIs. Many will be sure that they would learn fast and prove a better competitor in the next three games.
20 wickets tumbled in the span of 79.2 overs. Taylor and Styris were the difference between the two teams. Their partnership of 190 runs made the Indian bowling look ineffective. But, before and after them none else could score freely. Unfortunately, none of the Indian superstars could even come close to that partnership. Otherwise, at least the defeat would have been decent.