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IND vs NZ: Takeaways from the first test

New Zealand secured a famous draw in the first Test at Kanpur. It was definitely a moral victory for them over the Indians and they will be high on confidence coming into the second test. India would have been disappointed with the result after failing to pick just one New Zealand wicket.

Here we take a look at the key takeaways from the first Test.

The form of Ishant Sharma

The form of leading pacer Ishant Sharma is a huge concern for India. Ishant just bowled 15 and 7 overs in both innings of the test and didn't take a single wicket. He came off due to a finger injury on the 5th day. Ishant's form has been up and down all year. He has picked 14 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 32.71 in 2021.

New Zealand's pacers took 14 wickets between them in the first test while India's pacers had just taken two. New Zealand's pacers, especially Southee, were able to extract good movement with the new ball while Ishant and Umesh were just trying to contain the batsmen.

Ishant might be suffering from a lack of match practice as he hasn't played the IPL and the T20 World Cup as well. India's new bowling coach Paras Mhambrey has said the same when asked about Ishant's form.

"Ishant hasn't played much Test cricket for a long time," Mhambrey said after the team landed in Mumbai. "He hasn't played the IPL and the World Cup as well. That does make a difference. Yes, we are working on it. He has got enough experience under his belt."

With Mohammed Siraj sitting on the bench, Ishant needs to find his rhythm quickly. Mhambrey's words too suggest Ishant might be given another chance in Mumbai.

Opening woes for India

With regular openers, Rohit Sharma rested and KL Rahul injured, India's woes at the top of the order have resurfaced once again. Mayank Agarwal returned to the side after not playing in both series against England.

Kyle Jamieson bowled a brilliant spell to him with the new ball on day 1. He is looking vulnerable against the ball moving away, getting out both times in the same fashion to Southee and Jamieson.

Shubman Gill scored a good fifty in the first innings but has averaged just 20.8 since the Australia series. With Virat Kohli returning to the side in the second test and Shreyas Iyer having a brilliant debut, one of the two might have to be dropped.

New Zealand's 'spin' problem

New Zealand will be pretty disappointed with the way their spinners had bowled against a vulnerable Indian batting line-up. Ajaz Patel picked up just 3 wickets in the test while Somerville went wicketless.

The pressure built by the fast bowlers was being released by the spinners. This hurt New Zealand, especially when India were reeling at 51 for 5 on the morning of day 4. They let India off the hook and conceded 234, virtually losing the chance to win the game.

Ashwin crosses Harbhajan Singh

Ashwin has crossed Harbhajan Singh in India's highest wicket-taker list to climb up to 3rd spot. He has now taken 419 wickets overtaking Harbhajan with 417 wickets. Only Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev have taken more wickets than Ashwin in Test cricket. He will certainly cross Kapil Dev as well in the near future.

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