x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Gambhir hails historic whitewash

Teamwork is the key for captain as Patel hits another fifty on an excellent return to ODIs.

Parthiv Patel plays a shot as New Zealand’s wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum watches during India’s victory yesterday. The hosts won the series 5-0.
Parthiv Patel plays a shot as New Zealand’s wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum watches during India’s victory yesterday. The hosts won the series 5-0.

Gautam Gambhir, the India captain, was full of praise yesterday for the way his side romped to a 5-0 one-day international (ODI) series sweep over New Zealand.

India capped a superb run of games with an eight-wicket victory in the final tie at Chennai, chasing down New Zealand's paltry 103-run total inside 22 overs after their spinners had rattled through the Black Caps' batting line-up.

Ravichandran Ashwin finished with three for 24 from his eight overs, while Parthiv Patel - who on Tuesday marked his first ODI after six years with a patient 53 - added 56 yesterday.

And despite scoring two centuries and being named the man of the series, Gambhir insisted it was overall team strength that led to the sweep.

"It was a very professional performance," he said. "If you look at the whole series, then everyone did contribute, the bowlers bowled well, there were some good batting innings.

"All the spinners bowled well, they did a fantastic job as did the fast bowlers who got rid of the top order today, so it was an overall effort.

"It was fantastic to see them performing in the fifth game even after we've sealed the series 4-0. So the credit goes to the entire bunch of boys for their professional approach."

Gambhir's counterpart, Daniel Vettori, said the Black Caps were reeling in the wake of India's performances.

New Zealand have gone two ODI series without a single win, after Bangladesh wrapped up a 4-0 triumph in October.

But Vettori believes the experiences of playing in the subcontinent will be used to good effect come next year's world cup due to be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"We always knew it was going to be tough," he said. "We were hoping to put on a decent total and defend it in the night, but India again played like a team and that's why they've played well in this series.

"All facets of their game have been outstanding and we haven't been able to keep up with them. India have shown us how to play in these conditions with both bat and ball, so hopefully we'll learn a lot from it."

Also yesterday, the five-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and West Indies was postponed because of bad weather in Sri Lanka. Officials said it may be rescheduled as a three-match series in late January.

The Windies' tour of Sri Lanka has been marred by incessant rain and inclement weather, which partially contributed to a 0-0 stalemate in the recent three-Test series.

The first two ODI matches were scheduled to be held at Hambantota, and Colombo was to host the remaining three games before the tour was to be rounded off with a Twenty20 international at the same venue.

Meanwhile, the fourth ODI between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to a wet outfield. The hosts lead the five-match series 2-1, and the final one-dayer will be played in Chittagong tomorrow.