I’m so sick of this scenario, which seems to recur more often these days: India lead 1-0 in a Test series and find themselves in an impregnable position in the final Test. The debates over declaration then begin: should India have declared earlier and given themselves more time to bowl New Zealand out? Why isn’t India more attacking, and so on.
Here’s why I think those arguments don’t make sense: if you take the time to bat the other team out, as India did when it put a 600+ target up, the other team reacts accordingly in strategy. New Zealand knew that a draw was the only thing possible, and that’s not an easy attitude to have for almost two days. The pressure was always on.
Now, imagine if India had left it at 500+: that sounds just as impossible, but with 180 overs and a run-rate below 3 an over and a pliant pitch, New Zealand could have mapped out a more attacking approach.
So, that’s my point: it’s always easy at the end of the Test match to second-guess decisions and alter time-lines. But you can’t do that, because New Zealand may have acted differently with an earlier declaration. Just because New Zealand are currently 281/8 now does not mean they would have scored the same in different circumstances.
And come on! India won the series! It’s over!