On Sunday, the third day of the Kanpur Test, the New Zealand bowlers did a highly creditable job, which however might not bring the desired result to the Kiwis. It was India that appeared certain to clinch this Test as New Zealand got off to a disastrous start to its second knock.
Anil Kumble, duirng the final hour of the day, came up with a magic spell of 5-2-6-3 to reduce the visiting side to 17 for three in 14 overs. Containing a top class batting line up of India for 330 runs must certainly be considered as a commendable achievement. That meant a first innings lead of 74 runs for the home.
On this pitch which is fast deteriorating to inspire the bowlers in general, that first innings lead should serve well for India that enjoys a more accomplished set of bowlers. The New Zealand bowlers, especially left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, deserve all praise for having battled gamely against a fine set of batsmen. India, as expected hit back strongly, and seemed to have paved a confident-looking path to glory.
Kumble who came on to bowl the fourth over of the New Zealand second innings struck two vital blows off the fifth and sixth balls of the 11th over. Mathew Bell and Dion Nash were bemused by the heady stuff from Kumble. Bell was rapped leg before the wicket and Nash was beaten and bowled. Kumble scalped yet another victim for the day in the 13th over --Mathew Horne leg before wicket to Kumble.
Craig Spearman and Stephen Fleming played out the remaining balls for the day. Kumble who has been undergoing a terrible patch this season, looked all set to make this Kanpur Test a memorable one. He had taken four wickets in the first innings and this evening wore the looks of a destroyer. Should he emerge as the match-winner here in this Test, Kumble would be the happiest man for having regained his 'match winning" ways.
This morning, the New Zealand attack prevented India from posting a huge first innings total that looked quite possible at the end of the second day (Saturday). But India, 212 for one on Saturday, was all out for 330. Thus India's hopes of reaching a massive first innings total so as to avoid playing the fourth innings of the match were dashed out. Anyway, Kumble had done a marvelous job to ensure that India's winning target could as well be negligible. That was what the Sunday's closing score suggested.