India 179 all out from 39.3 overs
New Zealand 180/4 from 37.1 overs
New Zealand won by 6 wickets
Australia 297/9 from 50 overs
England 285 all out from 49.3 overs
Australia won by 12 runs
New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult made the most English conditions to send back three front-line Indian batsmen cheaply back to the pavilion leaving the No.1 ranked Test team in the world tottering at 39/4 at one stage. High-fliers Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul could manage scores of 2,2 and 6 respectively. Indian skipper and batting ace Virat Kohli tried to put on some semblance of a fight, scoring 18 off 24 balls before his defense was breached by an off-cutter from Colin de Grandhomme. All rounder Hardik Pandya tried counter-attacking but his brisk 30 from 37 balls came to an end after he nicked one behind from a Jimmy Neesham delivery that moved away a shade. Ms Dhoni plodded hard for his 17 from 42 deliveries. He, too, went back and was followed by stand-by wicketkeeper Dinesh Kartik who holed out a flick to deep square leg. India were 91 for 7 at this stage and looked like folding up inside 125. But a fighting 54 from 50 balls from Ravindra Jadeja supported ably by Kuldeep Yadav (19 off 36 balls) saw India reaching a somewhat respectable total of 179, a innings that didn’t last even 40 overs.
The Indian pacemen Jasprit Bumrah, Bhubaneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya began promisingly, restricting the New Zealand to 37/2 from 10 overs and dismissing openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro for 22 and 4 respectively. Both skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor saw off the pressure from Indian seamers and attacked once the spinners came on. The New Zealand captain reached his fifty off 69 balls with a six over mid-wicket off wrist spinner Yazuvendra Chahal while Taylor rode his luck before being dismissed for 71. Taylor was let of the hook when Chahal failed to hold on to a skier and Karthik failed to latch on to a faint edge with the batsman on 41. The Kiwis reached the target with almost 13 overs to spare. Bumrah finished with very impressive figures of 4-2-2-1 but it was in vain.
For Indian batsmen, the warm-up game was a wake-up call, as their weakness against the moving ball was seriously exposed. As for New Zealand, Trent Boult’s figures of 4 for 33 are a warning to opposition batting about the kind of stuff they may have to contend with.
Meanwhile at Southampton, Steve Smith and David Warner made their come-back to international cricket in style after a one-year ban for ball-tampering. Braving jeering crowds amidst cries of “cheater”, the two veterans slammed the English attack to help their side put up a defendable score of 297 for 9 from their allotted 50 offers. Smith was especially impressive, scoring 116 off 102 balls while Warner got his 43 from 55 deliveries. No.4 batsman Usman Khawaja with a sedate 31 from 38 deliveries also contributed to the Aussie total. Liam Plunket, England’s right-arm fast bowler was among the wickets, accounting for 4 Aussie scalps but gave away too many runs (69) from his 10 overs. As for the rest of the English bowling, there was nothing much to write home about.
The English chase looked good till the time Joss Butler and James Vince were at the crease. The score was 171/4 from from 29 overs when Butler got out for a marauding 52 from just 32 balls and the home team seemed well on course. Same looked to be the state-of-affairs when James Vince got out with the score on 197 from 36 overs. Vince scored a compact 64 from 76 deliveries and all-rounder Chris Woakes made the Aussie score seem passable before he was run-out for a quick 40 from 44 balls. Woakes went with the score reading 239 with still 10 overs to go. It was touch and go. But for what could have been an exciting finish, the English batting simply folded up after that, losing their last five wickets for just 46 runs and ending up 12 short of the Australian score.