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New Zealand v India

‘We were just not competitive enough’ – Kohli reflects on India’s heavy defeat

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

India captain Virat Kohli rued his team’s first-innings failure, and the lack of competitiveness, after their 10-wicket loss in the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

India’s resistance with the bat lasted only 16 overs on the fourth day, and they could add only 57 runs to their overnight score of 144-6 before folding for 191. That, and their first innings effort of 165, together fetched them a lead of eight, and it took New Zealand only 10 balls to overhaul the target and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Kohli cited that the toss did play a vital role, as it left his batters with a tough passage of play to deal with on day one, but expected more application from his team, which is currently the top-ranked outfit in the longest format.

“The toss did turn out to be very important,” Kohli said. “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. Anything in the region of even 220-230 would have made it different. Our strength is to put big scores for our bowlers to bowl at, and that was missing in this match.”

The skipper reiterated his faith on Prithvi Shaw, who took up the opener’s role in Rohit Sharma’s absence but failed in both innings, scoring 16 and 14 respectively. “You don’t want to be too hard on guys like Shaw,” Kohli said. “He’s played just two overseas Tests. He will figure a way, he will find a way to score runs.”

The most decisive phase of the game, though, came on the third morning, when New Zealand’s lower order took the score from 225-7 to 348 all out to give them a massive first-innings lead of 183. Kohli appreciated his bowlers’ effort in the first half of the innings, and admitted that the lack of discipline thereafter, cost his team dearly.

“The bowlers toiled well. Till the first seven New Zealand wickets, we were really good,” he said. “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.

“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.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, meanwhile, lauded his team for the all-round effort, led by pace spearhead Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson.

“Southee’s mindset wasn’t of one with a point to prove,” Williamson said. “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.

“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.”

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