Indian captain Virat Kohli on Monday said they were “just not competitive enough” after crashing to a 10-wicket defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the opening Test here.
Sent into bat after New Zealand won the toss, India were bowled out for a dismal 165 in their first innings, which eventually proved to be decisive on a Basin Reverse pitch that assisted the seamers.
“The toss did turn out to be very important. But at the same time, we take a lot of pride in being competitive as a batting unit, and we were just not competitive enough,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
“Anything in the region of even 220-230 would have made it different. As a bowling group, we have been pretty good. The wicket did get better.
“That first innings put us behind and then the lead put us under more pressure. The last three wickets and those 120 runs pushed us out of the game.”
Kohli was considerate towards his young batsmen but felt the bowlers could have been a bit more disciplined.
“The bowlers toiled well, as a bowling group we’ve taken pride in being competitive. Till the first seven New Zealand wickets, we were really good.
“We wanted to restrict the lead to under 100, but the last runs from their batsmen made things difficult. The bowlers can still be more disciplined, they were not as happy with their bowling performance.”
On the team’s younger batsmen such as Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, the skipper said, “You don’t want to be too hard on guys like Shaw. He’s played just two overseas Tests. He will figure a way, he will find a way to score runs.
“Mayank applied himself well, and he’s the only other person apart from Rahane who got us any momentum with the bat.
“Our strength is to put big scores for our bowlers to bowl at, and that was missing in this match.”
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson also spoke about the importance of bowling India out cheaply in the first innings and the substantial lead it had taken thanks to their lower-order batsmen’s resistance.
“Outstanding effort over the space of four days. We know how strong India are all around the world. The effort in the first innings and then a competitive total with the bat was great. The lower order runs are important to get a bit of a lead,” Williamson said.
The pitch aided his fast bowlers, with the duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult sharing nine wickets between them when India came out to bat the second time.
“Didn’t know what to expect from the pitch on the morning of the Test. Because it wasn’t as windy this week, there was a bit more swing. The bowlers were brilliant but a real collective effort.
“(Debutant seamer Kyle) Jamieson was brilliant. Through the summer, in white-ball cricket he’s been valuable. So great debut for Kyle, contributed in a number of ways.
“Southee’s mindset wasn’t of one with a point to prove. He just wanted to lead with the ball. Having Boult at the other end would’ve been good for him too. Left-arm, right-arm combination can be dangerous.”
Man of the Match Southee, who was part of the squad that was thrashed 0-5 by India in the T20 series, was pleased to be back in helpful conditions.
“A great win, to beat a quality Indian side. Pleasant change coming back to home conditions. I think this morning was a massive moment in the game. Being able to pick up those two wickets before the second new ball was crucial,” Southee said.
“As a bowling unit, to take 20 wickets and an effort like this was pretty pleasing. The wicket had more in it than usual. With the wind there, the ball did a bit more.