âIndia managed to pull off a win in the last Test amidst a setting which was typical of an Indian win in home conditions. The Kiwi fight fizzled out in Nagpur and for them it must have been disheartening performance on a good batting wicket. India will definitely be happy at the end and at the same time disappointed not to have won by a bigger margin in the series.
There are plenty of positives from the series for both the sides. Rahul Dravid's batting was the biggest gain. There was talk about his declining ability but he stood up to the pressure, grinded it out and was at his fluent best after completing the century in Nagpur.
India's pace attack will be formidable in South Africa
It has been two long years for India in the sub-continent and the entire team must be looking forward to the tour of South Africa. It's going to be a completely different challenge, which the entire cricketing fraternity will be looking up to in a different manner.
Harbhajan won the man-of-the-series award which had a lot to do with his contribution with the bat. His bowling definitely improved in the last Test and for somebody who has set very high standards for himself with his bowling, it must have been a relief for himself at the end. His batting will be put to the test in South Africa, but I am very happy to see him stating that he is more a bowler who can bat.
For Sachin this was a pretty quiet series but that's bound to happen with the amount of success he has got this year. His fiftieth Test hundred can happen any time and at the age of 37 he wouldn't mind it happening in South Africa. He knows that a success there will make him believe that he has got some more years of cricket in him and that goes for all the senior pros like Dravid and Laxman.
Although the Kiwis lost, they had some outstanding success in Ryder and McCullum, especially the latter, who I felt has always under-achieved with the amount of talent in him. It must have been a relief for him to have given up keeping and that has created an extra urge to contribute the best with the bat. But it has to be seen how long he can keep away from keeping wickets, as Gareth Hopkins has looked ordinary with the bat and modern cricket demands that a keeper has to contribute with the bat.
Vettori once again led from the front. He was magnificent with the ball against batsmen who are the best in the world in this aspect and I firmly believe that it is because of him that the Kiwis kept pressure on India in the first two Tests.
India vs New Zealand
The biggest plus point for India has been Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma's bowling. The team is touring South Africa and the form of the fast bowlers will be key to Indiaâs success in such conditions. The think-tank of the team and selectors would like to see Zak back and fit. His form, along with the contributions of the two juniors, can create a win in South Africa. Overall for India, it was a series where all expected them to win.
The Kiwis will go into the one-day series much improved as a team after their disaster in Bangladesh. The resting of seniors on the part of India will be an opportunity for selectors to look for new talent. It should be a series on an equal footing.
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