Post lunch, an incoming delivery from seamer, Umesh Yadav caught McCullum offguard and he had to depart LBW. Once McCullum was out of the picture, Kiwis' endeavor to show resistance crumbled like a pack of cards. It was lanky spinner, Ashwin’s stellar performance, which was instrumental in conquering Kiwi’s castle.
Ashwin weaved the spin net around the Kiwi batsmen with class. Kiwi batsmen failed to come to the party when it mattered most, barring Willamson; he scored a fighting half-century. Ashwin claimed 12 scalps in the match, also a record againt NZ. The lanky spinner was ably supported by another spinner, Pragyan Ojha; he took six wickets in the match. The match will also be remembered for another show stopper, Chiteshwar Pujara, he scored fluent 151 runs in the first inning.
Once the last wicket fell, the whole stadium erupted in joy. “I am watching live match for the first time in my life, the experience was great. I saw greats like Sachin, Sehwag and Zaheer performing on the field,” said Rajkumar Mehra, an employee with a leading IT organization in Hyderabad.
The environment was euphoric, filled with slogans. Speactators were shouting for Sachin, Sehwag. They were carrying banners with messages written about their heroes. Some were dedicated to local hero, VVS Laxman. He was desperately missed by locals. The stylish batsman bid adieu to international cricket recently.
I had a chance to meet Sachin’s biggest fan, Sudhir Gautam. From toe to head, he was immersed in Sachin and India. On his bare chest, Tendulakar was written; his head had a map of India. With a huge flag in his hand, he was incessantly shouting Sachin, Sachin. When asked for his comments on Sachin, he said: “Since my childhood, Sachin is my hero, god.” It may sound insane, but one thing was sure, he is really a genuine Sachin fan.
Win is definitely a win; however, Indian players have always been lions at home. The real acid test as usual will be performance on bouncy, speedy pitches of England and Australia. Still that infamous, embrassing complete whitewash in England and down under is fresh in the minds of cricket lovers.