India escaped major embarrassment at the hands of a less-fancied New Zealand as they won the 2010/11 series by a narrow margin, 1-0. It was a less than convincing performance by the Men in Blue but they would definitely want to better that when Black Caps come hunting in 2012. (All AFP Photos)
The first test match was played in Ahmedabad on a batting beauty and both teams warmed up well with Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag getting centuries for India while Jesse Ryder and Kane Williamson scoring hundreds for New Zealand. It took VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh though to save the day for India as they floundered in the second innings.
Harbhajan Singh scored a brilliant century and added 163 runs with the evergreen and perennial saviour, Laxman, to save India the blushes as the first test match ended in a draw.
Even as batsmen dominated, Chris Martin did grab a five-for to rattle India in the second innings of the first test. Late recovery, though, meant that the Men in Blue thwarted the New Zealander's effort.
The second test, which was held in Hyderabad, was another great outing for the batsmen from either side. Tim McIntosh might have got a pair in the first test all thanks to Zaheer Khan but he came back well in the second test with scores of 102 and 49.
The one and only:Top performances from either side meant that huge totals were on the cards but the test match primarily belonged to one man - Brendon McCullum. His massive 225 off 308 balls is his only double-ton in tests. It also ensured that the series went 0-0 in the decider.
Lo and Behold! Another day, another century. Bhajji was not up to the mark as far as bowling goes but was in prime batting form. Top order batsmen did not convert their fifties into a big score but the turbanator did. His was the only hundred by an Indian in the second test match.
Big Impact Meanwhile, Virender Sehwag went about his work in a quiet manner. His scores of 173, 1(run-out), 96, 54*, 74 - helped India get great starts most of the times. The one inning where he was run-out for 1, was the only inning that India floundered in the whole series.
The third test-match: India and New Zealand had solid exchanges in the first two tests and apart from the Indian hiccup in the second innings at Ahmedabad, all was level. New Zealand, though, chose the wrong time for a batting failure. They were bundled out for 193 in the first innings at Nagpur. Only Jesse Ryder, who was in stupendous form throughout, saved the face with a gritty 59.
Seventh heaven:Ishant Sharma did not play in the first two test matches. With Zaheer Khan not playing the final match, the lanky Delhi fast bowler got his chance and found a great way to deliver. With figures of 7/58 in the match, he was the chief destructor.
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth did not have a particularly great series against the Black Caps and managed just 8 wickets. Ishant almost took his tally over in a single outing.
Very Very Special:Laxman might have got undone by a few roughies but his scores always came in a moment of distress. His 91 in the first test was a face-saving effort. In the third test though, when all batsmen were scoring, he managed just 12. A disappointing end to what could have been a brilliant series for him.
His presence is all that matters:Sachin Tendulkar did not score heavily but sometimes just the sheer persona can rub off on to others. He scored 40, 12, 13, 61 in a quiet series.
Mr. Consistent: Rahul Dravid was what he always is, solid. A brilliant 104 in the first test, followed by a gritty 45 in the second and then a match-winning 191 in the last test helped India finish on a high.
Always the right time:Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni could not have found a more opportune time to hit form. His quick-fire 98 in the third test meant that India put up a huge 566 and had to bat just once.
Going unnoticed:There is little doubt that Pragyan Ojha is the finest test spinner in the country as of now. He got a total 12 wickets in a fruitful series. In fact his tally came only next to New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori who got 14.