India lost their first match of the ICC Test Championship after they were thrashed by the Kiwis in the opening Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington by 10 wickets. The visitors were outplayed in every department of the game and they need to ponder on their mistakes ahead of the next Test.
Skipper Virat Kohli who tasted his first Test defeat after more than a year contemplated India’s below-par performance by identifying the areas where they need to improve ahead of their must-win encounter at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
The visitors roared back into the match after reducing New Zealand to 225/7 in the first innings. However, the lower order haunted them yet again as debutant Kyle Jamieson shared a match-defining partnership with Colin de Grandhomme and took New Zealand past the 300 mark. Finally, it was a blitz from Trent Boult’s bat which ensured New Zealand took a defining lead of 183 runs.
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Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli said,
"Day one, 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. I don't think we put their bowlers under enough pressure. Anything over 220-230 and we would have been talking a different language. Even the deficit looks lot lesser if you get that score and take those last three wickets cheaply."
India needed to bat out of their skins in the 2nd innings to save the Test match. However the New Zealand bowlers had other ideas.
After restricting them to 144/4 at the end of Day 3, Tim Southee and Trent Boult ran through the Indian batting line-up on morning of Day 4. They lost the six wickets for just 43 runs giving New Zealand a meagre 9 runs as target.
Reflecting on the areas where they need to improve, Kohli said,
"The first innings really put us behind in the game and the lead put us under pressure. As a bowling group, we have been pretty competitive in bowling good channels for long periods of time. Till about 7 wickets, we were pretty good. The wicket did get better. The last 3 wickets and those 120 runs hurt us and pushed us out of the game."
Kohli was of the opinion that overall, India did put in a good effort but could still be more disciplined. He remains optimistic ahead of the second Test,
"It doesn't need to be pointed to them as the bowlers have recognized themselves. That can happen at the international level. You don't have to be too hard on the guys."
There was just a single half century from India in both the innings, from the bat of Mayank Agrawal (58). Tim Southee was the player of the match with his 5-wicket haul (5/61) along with his 4/49 giving him a match haul of 9 wickets for 110 runs. India leave Wellington with plenty to think about before the next Test gets underway on February 29, 2020 in Christchurch.