On a day wherein their fortunes fluctuated from bad to worse, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson praised Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s chance less double century during the third Test at Indore. Though the hosts piled on an avalanche of runs to leave them staring at scoreboard pressure, he also commended his bowler unit for their perseverance under humid conditions.
Speaking to reporters at the post-day press conference, the 41-year-old admitted, “(It was) high quality batting as it took a good delivery to create half chances. (We) went through long periods of play where we reeled out a lot of plans and stuck to our game well. But we were worn down, (that) Kohli killed us softly is the nicest way of describing it after scoring about 120 singles (115 singles from his 211 runs).”
He added, “At 100 for 3 (on the opening day) on a very slow surface, we had got ourselves in a nice position. But, Virat in particular yesterday was very composed around how he played. There was one half chance but outside of that it was faultless. We tried a lot of things and we created a lot of chances against Ajinkya (Rahane) but it wasn’t to be. The way they carried on today, it was an exceptional partnership and we have to acknowledge that and say well played.”
Resuming from their overnight score of 267/3, India surged towards a commanding total of 557 before they declared with five wickets intact. Kohli and Rahane continued their remarkable partnership to aggravate New Zealand’s woes. While the former reached his second double century, the latter fell short of the landmark by just 12 runs. In front of a strong Sunday crowd, the duo rotated the strike with considerable ease apart from punishing the loose deliveries.
Kohli’s career best 211 included as many as 115 singles which showed his ability to cut out risks even while maintaining a scoring rate of 57.65. At the other end, Rahane also reached his highest individual score of 188 before edging one to BJ Watling. Perhaps, the one positive for the Kiwis would be the fact that they managed to survive the tricky mini session without any loss of wickets.
However, Hesson believed, “A tough day but sounds funny, (it was) also a satisfying day in terms of the standards we set. Our seam bowlers delivering 30 overs, 135-140 kmph at times, in heat and humidity. At no stage, did we roll over and give soft runs. I thought it was a high quality Test cricket, we contributed to that with our bowling. When you go over 100 overs without a wicket, it can be demoralizing. If you’re not strong willed and keep fighting it can be tough, but we did that pretty well.”
“Any Test match, they have to set the tone that’s something we haven’t been able to do. This is the third of three quite distinctive surfaces. (We have) been shown a blueprint of how to play on it. As the game moves on, things will become harder. But tomorrow’s an important day for us, the surface is still pretty good. (It’s) fair to say foot marks (are) building as they tend to do, but body of surface is good. I’m sure the umpires will maintain that.”