New Zealand stand-in-skipper Ross Taylor today said that his team was always playing the catch-up game after it fell over 100 runs behind in the first innings of the second Test, which India won by 178 runs.
New Zealand were all out for 204 in their first innings in reply to India’s 316. Eventually chasing 376 for victory, the visitors were bowled out for 197 in their second essay to hand the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead in three-Test series.
“Any time you’re 100 runs behind in first innings even when you get early wickets in second innings they are still 150 runs ahead and we knew it would be tough on that wicket,” said Taylor at the post match press conference.
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“In the hindsight it would have been nice to score a few more runs and if India were 3 for 40 and their lead wasn’t as much, any time you are playing catch up from that far behind.
“There is a lot of what ifs, we could go through every session. At the end of the day we were beaten by a better side,” he added.
New Zealand lost the second Test with a day to spare with seven of their batsmen getting out in the last session of the fourth day.
Describing the hot and humid condition of Kolkata as one of the toughest, Taylor said: “Definitely up with hottest Test series I’ve been part of. A lot of their bowlers and batsmen were tired too. Pretty hot and humid. (Virat) Kohli says cooler in Indore so I’m happy.”
Taylor said Wriddhiman Saha’s gritty half-centuries in both innings pushed the Kiwis on to the back foot.
“Winning key moments was important. The way Saha came out in both innings when the game was in balance, those two 50s put us on the back foot,” said Taylor about the Indian wicketkeeper’s innings of 54 and 58.
Taylor, who stood in for Kane Williamson after the regular skipper got ill on the eve of the second Test, hoped his team played some fearless cricket in Indore to end the series with some pride.
“376 was always tough (to chase) but the bowlers fought throughout and that’s something we can take to Indore. Hopefully, we can play some fear-free cricket to put India under pressure.”
Taylor said their pace attack was definitely a positive point and added that the spinners (Mitchell Santner and Jeetan Patel) performance was a welcome sign ahead of Indore Test.
“Jeets coming in wasn’t easy after only being in the country for a day and a half. To bowl as well as he did in that first innings and score some valuable runs, we could have been even further behind the eight ball. Yes, we are disappointed, we’ve got to take the positives and hopefully we can play better in this next match.”
Asked about the weakness in Indian team, Taylor said: “That is a tough question. I can’t tell you because that is going to be in the next team meeting.”
The Kiwis lost their second successive toss in the series and Taylor hoped that they get it right in the final Test.
“I thought I won the toss but it turned out to be a commemorative coin,” he joked referring to the 250th silver coin that was given to him with the Eden Gardens hosting the 250th Test on Indian soil.
“Then I was told Kohli had won. Nice to bat first but don’t think that would’ve had made too much difference. They put us under pressure at times and we weren’t able to sustain it with the bat. A similar wicket would be good and hopefully Kane can win the toss,” he said.
Taylor’s personal batting too was disappointing as he scored 36 and four.
“Yes you have standards and want to score in every game. Felt good in first innings, my feet were moving. Same today but missed one. Have to work hard and trust experience to get through first 20-30 balls and things get easier,” he said.
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