Dhoni’s young brigade steers India to a 2-0 series win against New Zealand

For the first time in more than a decade, India's victory charge was almost completely fuelled not by the legends and the veterans but the young kids on the block, writes The Times Of India adding that India have been superbly served by a golden generation of heavyweights like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.

These stalwarts took the team to many historic triumphs and the No. 1 rank in Tests. But change had to happen somewhere along the line and a new breed of players needed to showcase its talent to reassure the Indian fan.

That happened in the just concluded series against the Kiwis - it was left to the rookies to show the way after the big names failed to stamp their authority on the Tests.

Virat Kohli and R Ashwin led the batting and bowling departments with elan and skill while Cheteshwar Pujara and Pragyan Ojha were able allies.

When Virat Kohli walked out at the fall of Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket, India were 152/3, still 109 adrift, says a report in The Indian Express, adding that just a series back, it would have been VVS Laxman at No. 5 — coming in to bear the responsibility of steering India home in another difficult chase, the kind of effort that the man had over the years made his trademark.

But VVS wasn’t missed at the Chinnaswamy on Monday. Virat Kohli, 23 years and 10 Tests old, led India to a 2-0 series victory with a show of batsmanship that earned for him praise that he is likely to cherish more than the Man of the Match award. “On current form,” Rahul Dravid, the other irreplaceable legend who retired this year, said on television, “Kohli is the best batsman in the Indian team across formats.”

If the big talking point before this series had been the retirements of Dravid and Laxman, then the loud buzz after its conclusion was on how young feet have filled those massive boots. Kohli, who scored 212 runs and averaged 107 in the series, shares the limelight with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravichandran Ashwin.

Meanwhile Hindustan Times writes that patience and poise pulled it off. “Asked a tough question with a 261-run target, India answered with their youngsters. Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli battled it out to take India to a five-wicket win, and with it, seal the season's first Test series 2-0. First, Pujara patiently tackled the short balls, his undoing in the first innings, and displayed nous even as Sachin Tendulkar struggled at the other end. Then, Virat showed poise, curbing his natural instincts to help MS Dhoni take India home,” says the report, adding that the fourth day of the second Test was fought with vigour. The young Kiwi pacemen, in their early 20s, shrugged off early nerves to fight back, but were undone by the Indian duo.

Later, Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni bailed India out with an unbroken 96-run stand that took the hosts to a five-wicket victory in the second and final test for a clean sweep in the series against New Zealand.