| A dejected Sourav Ganguly leads his team out of the Westpac Park after losing the second Test against New Zealand Sunday. (Reuters)
Hamilton: India lost another series as New Zealand, having ambushed and exposed the much-touted Indian batting on seamer-friendly wickets, hung on tenaciously to win the second Test Sunday.
Having beaten the visitors in three days in the first Test last week, New Zealand wrapped up the two-match series with a four-wicket win in a rain-hit match. The teams scored only 507 runs in four innings for the loss of 36 wickets on a pitch designed to aid the home side.
In losing the series 0-2, the Indians, strong on feather-bed wickets at home, maintained their dismal record of not winning a series abroad for 17 long years. Even New Zealander coach John Wright’s knowledge of conditions was of no help.
In the four innings of the two Tests, Sachin Tendulkar and the other big names of the Indian batting scored only 535 runs. Tendulkar made a total of 100 runs in four innings but the failures of skipper Sourav Ganguly (a total of 29) and V.V.S. Laxman (total 27) underlined the dismal performances. Man-of-the-Match Darryl Tuffey ran through the Indian innings to finish with a match-haul of eight for 53.
Defending a modest target of 160, the Indians did well to reduce the Black Caps to 105 for five on the fourth morning, but failed to provide the finishing touches.
After Stephen Fleming had laid the foundation with a knock of 32, Jacob Oram put on partnerships down the order with Scott Styris and Robbie Hart on a pitch that had improved considerably compared to the previous days. New Zealand went past the target with relative ease to post their first 2-0 series win over India.
India began the day on a high with Tinu Yohannan providing the breakthrough. Opener Lou Vincent, who was dropped by Sanjay Bangar Saturday, edged him to Parthiv Patel.
Mark Richardson and Fleming put on 22 for the second wicket before Nehra claimed the first of his three wickets. The hosts’ skipper, whose 32 came off 58 balls with five fours, put his side firmly on course for victory.
The wicket of Fleming pumped up the Indians who were successful in dismissing two more recognised batsmen before lunch.
Nehra trapped McMillan (18) leg before in his next over while Zaheer Khan sent back Nathan Astle (14), out to a brilliant catch by Patel who flung himself full-length to his left to hold on to a low chance.
The Indian team was fined 35 per cent of its match fee for slow over rate during New Zealand’s first innings in the first Test at Wellington.
Match Referee Mike Procter said at the end of the second Test here on Sunday that the Indians had bowled six overs less than scheduled in the first game.