India suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the first Test in Wellington by ten wickets. While the Indian bowlers put up an average show, it was the Indian batting that was miserable in both innings, getting bowled out for 165 and 191.
Former Indian player Dilip Vengsarkar believes that one of the main reasons why the Indian batsmen underperformed was because they gave the New Zealand bowlers too much freedom to consistently bowl in good areas and not enough importance to the rotation of strike. He was especially critical of Cheteshwar Pujara who played 81 balls and scored just 11 runs. Ajinkya Rahane scored 29 off 75 balls and Hanuma Vihari scored 15 off 79 balls.
Vengsarkar was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times:
“He (Pujara) has scored a lot of runs, but he has to be able to rotate the strike, otherwise his batting partner will be in trouble as he will lose the rhythm being stranded at the other end for long periods."
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Vengsarkar also felt that India were in the game when New Zealand had a lead of 50 odd runs and had three wickets in hand, but the visitors failed to dismiss the lower order who added 123 runs for the last three wickets which came back to haunt India. He stated:
“We allowed the game to get away after having New Zealand at 225/7 by bowling short. The New Zealand, Australia or England batsmen are not going to get out on our short bowling. They are used to it. Their lower order got the runs and took the score to 348.”
The second Test of the two-match series is scheduled to start on February 29 at Christchurch.