Wriddhiman Saha said Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s surprise inclusion was done keeping in mind the grassy Eden Gardens wicket as the seamer scalped a five-for to tightened the noose around New Zealand in the second cricket Test here.
New Zealand were struggling at 128 for seven in their first innings in reply to India’s 316 all out on day two, still 188 runs behind.
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“We make our team as per the situation. Umesh (Yadav) played in last match but we thought the wicket would be a bit more seaming-friendly so Bhuvi came into the team,” Saha, who scored an unbeaten 54 to take India to 316 in the first innings, said at the post-match news conference.
The play was held up for two and half hours for a rain delay and the final session was played under lights. Saha said India benefited from it.
“There was more movement under lights. Vision gets affected under lights. Bhuvi and (Mohammad) Shami bowled in the right areas. We want to get them all out as quickly as possible tomorrow morning.”
Bhuvneshwar, who had taken a five-wicket haul in the West Indies Test series last month but was dropped in Kanpur, made a comeback with a bang with his 5/33 that rattled the Kiwis.
This was Bhuvneshwar’s fourth five-wicket haul and second in back-to-back series.
Replacing Umesh, Bhuvneshwar’s inclusion was the surprise but he first bowled Martin Guptill (13) and Henry Nicholls (1) before returning to haunt the Kiwis once again under lights when he took three wickets including the scalps of Mitchell Santner (11) and Matt Henry (0) in successive balls in a rain-interrupted day.
The Eden wicket was relaid recently and it was the first match on the surface, something that made the team think tank to go for the masterstroke in Bhuvneshwar.
“Some balls stayed low while some had extra bounce and carry. Maybe in one or two matches I had seen such kind of wicket here. It’s a result-oriented wicket which is good for both the teams,” he said while hailing the wicket.
“Obviously he’s a very good bowler. We have a very good bench strength. He really bowled well. Also credit should be given to (Ravindra) Jadeja, Shami and (Ravichandran) Ashwin. We will look to carry that forward.”
India resumed the day on 239 for seven as Saha and Jadeja took the innings forward with a 41-run partnership.
“Our plan in the team meeting was to extend our partnership and carry the innings forward to get past 300. It happened with Jadeja and Shami giving fine contribution.
“We always plan to score runs — be it top order or lower order. If the lower order batsmen can chip in with some runs it will give a good boost and will be helpful for the team.
“Wicket was seaming a bit. The idea was to convert them into boundaries and rotate strikes otherwise we would not have got past 250-260. It happened that way. We wanted to hit the loose balls,” said Saha.
“We have good understanding with everyone. So we can convert, rotate strikes. Everyone in our team can play shots,” he said about the lower order charge.
Asked to rate his innings, Saha said: “Everyone has appreciated the knock. I did not get much time as I had to come back for keeping. But I’m happy that I could take it to a respectable total. I’m happy for the team.
“It was much-needed to take the team forward and take the score past 300. Rahane and Pujara also batted well. Everyone contributed well. All matches are equal for me. I would like to contribute in every match.”