India had New Zealand on the mat as early as on Day 2 of the second Test in Mumbai, having bowled them out for 62. With India, who scored 325 in the first innings, ahead by a huge margin, many believed Virat Kohli would enforce the follow-on and push for an innings victory over the BlackCaps, but that did not happen. India came out to bat in the second innings and put on another 276 runs for the loss of seven wickets before declaring and setting New Zealand an improbable 540-run target to win.
It took India less than 57 overs to bowl New Zealand out for 167 in the second innings and register a thumping 372-run win, their biggest in terms of runs in Tests. However, former England fast bowler Steve Harmison was not impressed with Kohli’s tactics and claims that the decision of not enforcing the follow-on stemmed from Kohli’s desire to let himself and Cheteshwar Pujara get some runs ahead of the all-important tour of South Africa.
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“I honestly don’t understand the Virat Kohli non-declaration (follow-on) decision. His bowlers had only bowled 28.1 overs. If it’s a commercial decision, that worries me a little bit. But if the Indian selectors are looking at Pujara and Kohli to get some runs going ahead to the South African series, that should be enough telling that they should not go,” Harmison said on talkSPORT’s Following On Cricket Podcast.
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The former England quick, who played 63 Tests for his country, went on further saying that had India made New Zealand bat again, it would have been the perfect answer by the Men in Blue to a team they lost to in the World Test Championship final.
“If you are that desperate to let a game drift just because one man can get some runs, I really don’t understand what the reason was behind not enforcing follow-on. The team you had lost to in the WTC final, you had a chance to beat them by an innings. For me, that would have been enough to run New Zealand’s faces in the dirt. But, it’s Virat’s prerogative,” added Harmison.