Hanuma Vihari reckons that it was Indian batsmen who were at fault for the collapse as the pitch wasn’t that difficult as their performance on the opening day of the second Test suggests. Several India batsmen got the starts before playing rash shots culminating into their dismissals against New Zealand. Also Read - New Zealand Cricketers Reach Home After IPL 2021 Suspension, Second Group Lands Safely
Opener Prithvi Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara both scored 54 runs each while Vihari hit 55 as India were bowled out for 242 at the Hagely Oval. Also Read - It Hurt me - Cheteshwar Pujara on Going Unsold in The IPL
“Yes, obviously as the pitch didn’t do as much as we expected,” Vihari said after the end of the day’s play. “They (New Zealand) bowled in good areas and knew what to expect from this track. Prithvi set the tone, Pujara spent time. All dismissals happened at wrong time. None of the dismissals were because of the pitch. Mostly it was because of batsmen’s error. Pitch was fair.” Also Read - IPL 2021: Kuldeep Yadav to Jason Roy, Five Top Capped Who Did Not Get a Game
Vihari hit 10 fours during his stay while consuming just 75 deliveries and was out going for a pull shot off which he managed an edge to be out caught behind.
Explaining the reason behind his aggressive approach, he said, “As Pujara was playing at one end and I wanted to take that lead and play positively because he is a player who will play for a lot of time. We know that. So I didn’t also want to take time and put pressure on Pujara or on our innings because if you don’t keep scoreboard moving you will get stuck like in the last game. That’s why I decided to play positively and take them on.”
Vihari and Pujara led India’s recovery after India were reduced to 113/4. The duo added 81 runs for the fifth wicket before Vihari’s untimely dismissal gave way to a collapse.
“It was a wrong time to get out obviously just before tea as we had a good session. We scored 110 runs and lost only one wicket prior to that. I was batting positively but I played one shot too many,” he admitted.
New Zealand continued to target India batsmen with short-pitched deliveries but Vihari was up to the challenge, going after them. “It was a personal decision,” Vihari said of his decision to go after short deliveries. “As a team we wanted to show more intent. Wicket was much better here and it was a personal decision to put the short ball away and put pressure on them. It didn’t go our way on a couple of occasions. I am sure when we get opportunity again we can do it.”
In reply to India’s total, New Zealand openers had added 63 runs by the time the day’s plan ended and are trailing by 179 ruins with 10 wickets in hand.
Vihari, who has played at the same venue while representing India A predicts the pitch to flatten out as the game progresses. “I played an India A game here and that’s what I was communicating to my teammates that it doesn’t do much after the first session and it really flattens out after that,” he said. “It will slow down on day three and four. It played according to our imagination. It’s a fair wicket,” he assessed.
New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson was the star performer taking a maiden five-for and Vihari praised him for his effort. “He will get much more bounce than other bowlers and that extra bounce is a factor on these kind of pitches where it is bouncy and much more spongy than Indian tracks. To play him on front foot balls are more dangerous than back of length or short balls. Jamieson deservingly got five wickets,” he said.