Mohali: India put their enviable home reputation in jeopardy before relying on V V S Laxman's class and determination to save the blushes as the two-match Test series against New Zealand ended in a draw in Mohali on Monday. After failing to avoid the follow-on by just seven runs, the hosts were in real danger of suffering their first series defeat at home for a fairly long time after being 18 for three at one stage. But Laxman (67 not out) and newcomer Aakash Chopra (52) saved the day with a resolute 110-run fourth wicket partnership.
The Indians were a pale shadow of themselves as they struggled right through the final day to save the embarrassment of a defeat and to keep their reputation intact in what was billed as the 'revenge series'. The Indians scored 136 for four in their second innings before play was called off with six mandatory overs remaining. The visitors raised hopes of recording their first-ever series win on Indian soil after dramatically bundling out India for 424, seven runs short of the follow-on target and then tightening the grip on the match by making early inroads into the formidable Indian batting line up.
Although the Test series ended in a draw, New Zealand definitely emerged the moral victors having outplayed the hosts in almost all the departments of the game in their own den.