Hardik Pandya seemed unfazed by the tribulations of the past few weeks and made a significant contribution to India’s impressive bowling effort which shot New Zealand out for 243 in the third ODI on Monday.
Coming back into the side after the suspension on him for sexist remarks on a TV show was lifted, Pandya delivered figures of two for 45 in 10 overs and choked the run flow during the middle overs.
Skipper Virat Kohli’s stand on the kind of balance that the Baroda all-rounder brings to the side stood vindicated during another controlled bowling effort by the visitors.
Save the 119-run fourth wicket stand between Ross Taylor (93 off 106 balls) and Tom Latham (51 off 64 balls), New Zealand couldn’t really accelerate against the Indian attack on a pitch that was a touch slower compared to the second ODI.
Mohammed Shami (3/41 in 9 overs), who had all but sealed the third seamer’s spot for the World cup, once again provided the initial breakthrough as Colin Munro (7) edged one to Rohit Sharma in the slip cordon.
Martin Guptill (13) then got a delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/46 in 9 overs), which moved a shade after pitching. The resultant nick was taken by Dinesh Karthik, replacing an injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni (hamstring) behind the stumps.
Kane Williamson’s (28) bane in the series has been not capitalising on good starts and it was no different in this game either with Pandya coming into the focus with an impressive catch at the mid-wicket off Yuzvendra Chahal (2/51 in 9 overs).
Chahal shortened the length as Williamson came out. The home batsman couldn’t control his flick shot and an agile Pandya did the rest.
Pandya’s bowling was sharp as he got a few to rear up to both Taylor and Latham, who resurrected the innings from 59 for 3.
Pandya’s first spell read 5-0-9-0 with 23 dot balls.
In his second spell, he did get some stick but removed Henry Nicholls and Mitchell Santner in successive overs.
The first was a slow bouncer that climbed on Nicholls while the second was a length ball that was edged by Santner.
This was after Latham and Taylor were dismissed to leave New Zealand struggling.