R Ashwin India New Zealand pitch
The Kanpur wicket had something in it for everyone, making it perfect for Test match cricketReuters

All the talk going into the 500th Test match at the Green Park Stadium was about the pitch, and not with a positive spin. Dustbowls, wickets that turn from day one and more along those lines were the talking points, with that worry only increasing a touch when the Kanpur wicket on Day 1 morning of the Test match between India and New Zealand looked like being on the extremely-dry side.

However, the Kanpur curator insisted the wicket would not break over the five days, and boy did he prove to be right. This was a wicket that every other Test match ground should take inspiration from – a typically slow sub-continental wicket, yes, but one that had something for everyone involved.

For the fast bowlers, there was the option of reverse swing or bringing the change of pace into play to befuddle the batsmen; for the spinners there was just enough turn to give them the confidence that they can make an impact; for the batsmen it was about application and having the patience to bat long innings.

That word "patience" is what defined this first Test match of the series in the end. The team that stayed patient and showed the better resolve over longer periods won out, and as good as New Zealand played – be that with the bat or ball – India were just that little bit better.

"It's been a very good Test match," India captain Virat Kohli said at the presentation ceremony. "When New Zealand were batting on Day 2, me and Ashwin had a discussion and said this is going to be a great, exciting Test match.

"The reason this Test match went to five days is because of the character they (New Zealand) showed and the guts they showed, so it was a great Test match."

It was also great because of the wicket, one that did not crumble, played true enough through the five days and while the wear and tear came through slowly, the fact that Ashwin and Jadeja had to work so hard for their wickets on the final day showed just how good a cricket wicket this was.

Hopefully, Kolkata throws up a similar pitch in the second Test match as well, because if the surface at the Eden Gardens ends up being similar, we are in for another ripper of a contest.

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