India was all set to lead the series 1-0 at draw of stumps on Day 4 of 1st test match against New Zealand whose batting capabilities against genuine spin bowling were exposed beyond doubt. Can the visitors avoid a defeat or force a draw? That is a big question.
Resuming at overnight score of 157/1, India batsmen slowly went about their task meticulously and began strengthening their fortress.
Finally, at 377/5, India declared the innings leaving Black Caps to score 334 (377 plus first innings lead of 56) to win the match. Top scorers for India were C Pujara 78, M Vijay 76. For Kiwis, M Santner and I Sodhi claimed 2 wickets each. NZ bowlers could not extract as much turn out of the wicket as India bowlers could manage.
Unlike in 1st innings, NZ began disastrously losing 2 wickets for just 3 runs on board. One could faintly read the writing on the wall- Indian spinners would definitely trouble the opponents and getting to 434 would be a herculean task for the visitors. At stumps on Day 4, Kiwis were struggling at 93/4 with L Ronchi and M Santner holding out with 38 and 8 runs respectively.
Going by the form exhibited by R Jadeja and R Ashwin, India looks almost certain to wind up the match either by lunch or maximum before tea.
However, there is also a possibility of L Ronchi and M Santner playing solid innings to battle out in the middle thwarting spin duo of India. Both have displayed their batting skills and dogged determination in the past. Can they revive their magical batting again?
The remote possibility of NZ pulling up to register a win can not be ruled out. Test cricket is replete with examples of tail enders saving matches on many occasions.
Exciting crick awaits all. Good luck both the teams.