India in New Zealand: Batsmen or Bowlers?

Prthvir SolankiCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2009

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 21:  Harbhajan Singh of India celebrates his wicket of Iain O'Brien of New Zealand during day four of the First Test match between New Zealand and India at Seddon Park on March 21, 2009 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

So after much dilly dallying, India has managed to beat New Zealand at home after 33 years after a comprehensive 10 wicket victory, which had some splendid performances by both batsman and bowler.

Man of the match, Sachin Tendulkar, was at his best scoring a sublime 160.

Rahul Dravid marked his return to form with an excellent 66. Gautam Gambhit played a powerful knock in the first innings and made sure the paltry target of 39 was reached without any hiccups.

Harbhajan Singh was at his best picking up 6 for 63 in the second innings. Ishant Sharma used the conditions well and picked up four in the first innings.

But the surprise of the match was Munaf Patel, who bowled a good line and length. He was rewarded with five good wickets in the match.

In the presentation ceremony, Dhoni mentioned his bowlers doing very well, but I would like to contradict that.

They did bowl well, but they were not at their best. Letting New Zealand score 279, when they were struggling at 60 for 6 was a huge letdown.

Allowing Ian O'Brien to settle and share a 76 run stand with McCullum was also disappointing.

All in all, India should have won this match before I woke up early in the morning.

The bowlers were not bowling with gusto and enthusiasm. Watching was even worse. The only fun moment was when Harbhajan slept on the ground to stop a ball in the deep, when McCullum was refusing to give strike to O'Brien.

Three slips were in place for the fast bowlers, but there was no sign of them bowling up to the batsman. They did that in the first innings and got early breakthroughs.

Dhoni's captaincy can also be questioned here. Instead of bringing the field in for McCullum, he let the fielders remain in the deep, allowing McCullum to remain at ease.

McCullum was following the same pattern every over-first three balls play whatever you like, fourth ball, give strike to blog expert.

If he failed to rotate strike, Dhoni would bring the fielders up for the last two balls. It would not have hurt if he had asked them to come up on the fourth ball. Would it?

Talking about the batsman, I think they were absolutely flawless.

The only let down was Sehwag, which occurred because of a run out, otherwise India would surely have scored more than 600.

Every batsman contributed well, including Zaheer Khan, who played superbly for his fifty.

I was glad to see very few cross-bat shots being played. Batsman now are so excited about T20, they play like sweepers everywhere.

Dhoni might have said that the bowlers did do well, but I believe it was the batsman who won the game for India.

The bowlers were inconsistent and their problem of failing to clean up the tail quickly was evident today.