Indian skipper Virat Kohli conceded that India’s dismal performance with the bat in the first innings against New Zealand in the 1st Test of the two-match series at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, put his team behind and the subsequent lead taken by New Zealand (183 runs), further added to the pressure. Also Read - IPL 2021: Virender Sehwag Picks 'Under The Radar' Player of The Tournament
“That first innings put us behind and then the lead put us under more pressure,” said Kohli during the post-match presser after India’s ten-wicket loss on day four of the Test on Monday. Also Read - Virat Kohli, RCB Captain, Starts Working For Covid-19 Relief After BCCI Suspend IPL 2021 Indefinitely | PICS
“Even scoring 220-230 would’ve been good,” he said, adding losing the toss also played a big factor. “Toss turned out to be very important. As a batting unit we take pride in being competitive, but we weren’t. Even scoring 220-230 would’ve been good”. Also Read - ICC World Test Championship Final: Indian Team May Leave Early Due to UK Travel Restrictions
India were all out for 165 in the first innings and then allowed the hosts to canter to 166/2, but the bowlers helped India made a brief comeback, reducing New Zealand to 225/7. However, the last three NZ wickets put on 132 runs helping their team to a huge lead. Kohli rued the fact his bowlers were not able to wrap up the innings earlier.
“The bowlers toiled well; As a bowling group we’ve taken pride in being competitive. Till the first seven wickets, we were really good. We wanted to restrict the lead to under 100, but the last runs from their batsmen made things difficult. But bowlers can still be more disciplined, they were not as happy with their bowling performance.”
India did a tad better in the second innings making 191 runs, managing enough to avoid an innings defeat. Apart from Kohli’s failure with the bat – he scored 2 and 19 – young Prithvi Shaw’s lack of runs at the top of the order was a major talking point. Playing his first international series outside Asia, the Mumbai batsman was found wanting against the terrific new ball bowling attack of Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Shaw made 16 and 14 in two innings with Southee cleaning up the opener in the first innings and Boult bouncing out Shaw in the second. However, Kohli backed the youngster.
“You don’t want to be too hard on guys like Shaw,” he said. “He’s played just two overseas Tests. He will figure a way out. He will find a way to score runs.”
The other Indian opener, Mayank Agarwal, was the standout batsman for India in the match and Kohli was all praise for the Karnataka batsman. “Mayank applied himself well, and he’s the only other person apart from Rahane who got us any momentum with the bat. Our strength is to put big scores for our bowlers to bowl at, and that was missing in this match,” he added.
The victory was New Zealand’s 100th Test win, while this was India’s first loss in the ICC Test Championship cycle. The 2nd and the final Test of the series will be played at Christchurch from February 29.