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Black Caps v India - Test report card

opinion

By Max Bania

Published: 9:16AM Wednesday September 05, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

Another assessment of the Black Caps after yet another series loss.

Brendon McCullum. 2 matches, 87 runs at 21.75.
Why was he promoted to open ahead of Daniel Flynn, who had been doing a reasonable job in the role? If it was with his 225 two years ago in India in mind, he never looked like replicating that innings. Yes he was the victim of poor umpiring, but he benefitted from a shocker too in Bangalore and failed to capitalise.
Grade: C

Martin Guptill. 2 matches, 78 runs at 19.5.
Apart from the first innings at Bangalore, where he made a lively 53, Guptill failed to come to terms with spin bowling virtually from the outset. Looked indecisive and finished the series by missing a straight one from a fast bowler; a sure-fire sign of an out-of-sorts opener. Also dropped a catch that would've given Southee an eight-fer.
Grade: C

Kane Williamson. 2 matches, 114 runs at 28.5.
The best of a bad lot in Hyderabad, Williamson was out twice in the teens in Bangalore. Perished against spin four times out of four, and looked particularly vulnerable against the ball moving away. Far from the finished product but he's the best of the young crop and deserves a long stint at first drop.
Grade: B-

Ross Taylor. 2 matches, 157 runs at 39.3.
Topped the run-scoring charts courtesy of his freewheeling 113 in Bangalore: a magnificent display of talking the talk then walking the walk. But he still got himself out in frustrating ways, his slip catching was poor and his captaincy not always inspiring. A mixed series, in other words.
Grade: B

Daniel Flynn. 2 matches, 91 runs at 22.8.
See above comments re: McCullum; not that Flynn doesn't have his own issues to grapple with. Down the order his indecision against spin was shown up - he finally looked like conquering it in the second innings in Bangalore before having yet another brain fade. Deserves another shot at opening.
Grade: C

James Franklin. 2 matches, 97 runs at 32.3, no wickets for 57 runs.
Franklin certainly can't be accused of not caring; the effort is always etched across his face. But his poor dismissal on day three in Bangalore, stumped charging down the wicket, might've been enough to cost him his place alone in other Test teams. Bowling is too feeble to be considered an all-rounder anymore.
Grade: B-

Kruger van Wyk. 2 matches, 115 runs at 28.8.
The slight South African's robust batting in Bangalore was one of the surprising successes of the series for New Zealand. He fended off the fast bowlers and thwacked the spinners square of the wicket much to India's bemusement. Keeping was tidy enough although he probably could've been two steps closer to the stumps when the fast men were on
Grade: B

Doug Bracewell. 2 matches, 3 wickets at 77. 83 runs at 20.8.
New Zealand's most disappointing seamer, probably only his youth saw Bracewell retained ahead of Chris Martin for the second Test. Couldn't make an impression during India's run chase and was repeatedly collared by Sehwag - although he did get his man twice. Some responsible knocks with the bat.
Grade: C

Jeetan Patel. 2 matches, 7 wickets at 35.1.
Bowled more overs than any Black Cap but a return of seven wickets probably flatters Patel. India's batsmen attacked him early in his spells to prevent him from settling, although to his credit he did continue to give the ball air and reap the rewards. The drums are still beating for Tarun Nethula however.
Grade: B

Trent Boult. 2 matches, 5 wickets at 49.4.
The unluckiest of New Zealand's pacemen, Boult nevertheless leaked runs more readily than his captain might've liked. Found ample movement to trouble India's batsmen but too many boundary balls released the pressure. Will treasure the prize scalp of Sachin Tendulkar, clean bowled in Hyderbad.
Grade: B

Tim Southee. 1 match, 8 wickets at 16.5.
Welcome back Tim, and may your return to the fold this time be a prolonged one. A career best 7 for 64 (and he should've had eight) justified his selection for the second Test after a strong showing in the nets. Bowled with pace, accuracy and - most pleasingly - consistency. Not to blame for New Zealand's lack of firepower on the final day.
Grade: A

Chris Martin. 1 match, 1 wicket at 76.
The eulogising has begun over Martin, who will be 38 the next time the Black Caps play a Test. He was perhaps harshly dropped after bowling well for just one wicket in Hyderabad, and with plenty of youth in the fast bowling ranks the door remains only the tiniest bit ajar for a comeback.
Grade: C

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