New Zealand coach Mike Hesson speaks of soft dismissals and half-mistakes
The Kiwi batsmen were clueless against Ashwin and Jadeja right through the series, but they were exposed on the fourth day of the third Test at Indore and crumbled like a pack of cards against the wily Ashwin.
New Zealand were bowled out for 153 in less than 4 overs, their lowest total across the three tests. Attack, the best form of defence seemed to be the motto behind the Kiwi approach which earned quite a lot of criticism.
New Zealand's subcontinental test record had been on an upward trend since August 2012, the last time they lost a series in the sub-continent; a 2-0 loss to India in Hesson’s first tour as head coach.
Their recent record in the sub-continent was a 1-1 draw against Sri Lanka, 0-0 vs Bangladesh (0-0) and 1-1 vs Pakistan in UAE.
Exposed in the series, says Hesson
However, this notion has gone to the wind after a pounding in the three tests in India. "We're in a bit of a trough," coach Mike Hesson said. "We were exposed in this series against an experienced side in tough conditions."
The gap between the sides mainly lies in the ability to handle spin, though the visitors found themselves short in the bowling department too.
"There were a few soft dismissals," Hesson said. "Most were brought about by fielders around the bat where, if you make half a mistake, you're out."
More A tours to the subcontinent seems like an ideal way to nurture players to perform well in this part of the globe. But if a proper process isn't in place, it will spoil the efforts of ex-Captain Brendon McCullum, who took considerable steps with Hesson to improve the sub-continent record of the Kiwis.
Hesson was clear that they needed players experienced in these conditions and that players need to be exposed to this in their formative years, rather than on the international stage. Skipper Williamson compared the experience in India similar to acclimatisation to County Cricket in England.
Learning on the job in Indian conditions
"However, you are playing so much international cricket it is tricky to get the extra preparation you'd like. You are learning on the job a bit, which is the nature of the beast, but at the same time it is important through the likes of 'A' teams that guys play in these conditions", Williamson said.
New Zealand were behind India in the first innings right through the entire series after Kohli opted to bat in each Test.
Williamson was, however, quick to defend the fourth innings attacking mindset in Indore, after New Zealand were set 475 for victory, citing it was a challenge, especially on wickets conducive to spin.