A brave last-wicket stand cruelled India’s hopes of victory as New Zealand batted until the sun went down in a thrilling finish to the first Test.
The Kiwis began the day with some chance of victory but extremely slow batting in the second session and several key wickets put it out of reach.
Ravindra Jadeja’s fourth wicket of the innings forced Test debutant Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel to bat through eight nervy overs with constant light meter checks.
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Bad light looked almost certain to be called with four minimum overs left, and the Kiwis at 161-9, but one more over was given.
Then after that over, the sun came out from behind the clouds allowing several more overs.
Still the Indian attack couldn’t break through the Kiwi pair’s defence, with the 52-ball partnership proving enough. The match was stopped for bad light at 9:53pm AEDT, with time still permitting, but it was not resumed.
Ravindra finished with 18 off 91 balls while Ajaz scored 2 off 23, as the Kiwis ended 165-9 chasing 8284.
Earlier the Kiwis were criticised for their slow run rate during the second session when the win was still within reach.
“I’ve got to say that New Zealand have only got themselves to blame for being in this position, where they cannot win the match,” one of the Indian commentators said.
“Their approach in that session after lunch was hard to understand. They scored only 46 runs in that session, when they were in a position where they actually could’ve put pressure back on India.
“Didn’t have to go for any outrageous shots, just pick the singles and move the strike, and they just didn’t do that. They just blocked and blocked and blocked. That over-emphasis on defence certainly didn’t help.”
However the Kiwi commentator responded: “That second session was tough, but I just worry that in the whole Test match, no-one’s been able to score more than 3.10 in the first innings, day two it was 2.08, 2.89, 1.85 – so I wonder if that target was ever an option for New Zealand.
“I think they could’ve been more proactive with the singles but I wonder if the target was ever realistic.”
New Zealand faltered in their chase after overnight batsman Tom Latham, who made 52, and later Kane Williamson, who made 24, departed, but the lower order denied India a win after a tense final session on day five in Kanpur.
The left-handed Ravindra (18) put on key partnerships with Kyle Jamieson and then held fort for 52 balls with Patel, before umpires ended play due to bad light.