New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said Virat Kohli “softly killed” them as the Indian captain combined with Ajinkya Rahane to torment the Kiwis bowlers in the third Test.
“(It was) high quality batting, took a good delivery to create half chances. Went through long periods of play where we reeled out a lot of plans, stuck to our game well, but we were worn down. Kohli killed us softly, is the nicest way of describing it, after scoring about 120 singles (out of his career best score of 211),” said Hesson.
However, he also looked at the positive side and said his team had stuck to the task well.
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“A tough day but, sounds funny, also a satisfying day in terms of the standards we set. Our seam bowlers delivering 30 overs, 135-140kmph at times, in heat and humidity. At no stage did we roll over and give soft runs. I thought it was a high quality Test cricket. We contributed to that with our bowling.
“When you go over a 100 overs without a wicket it can be demoralising. If you’re not strong willed and keep fighting it can be tough, but we did that pretty well,” he said.
He said the third day was crucial and the onus was on the top seven batsmen who have seen how to tackle the track by Kohli and Rahane who put on 365 runs, the highest for the fourth wicket for India, with Rahane missing his double ton by just 12 runs.
“Any Test match they have to set the tone, that’s something we haven’t been able to do. This is the third of three quite distinctive surfaces. (We have) been shown a blueprint of how to play on it. As the game moves on things will become harder but tomorrow’s an important day for us.
“The surface is still pretty good. (It’s) fair to say footmarks (are) building as they tend to do, but body of surface is good. I’m sure the umpires will maintain that.
“We just have to bat for long periods of time. Each batsman has his own game plan and it is a matter of being very decisive around that. It is not quite as sharp a turn at the moment as perhaps in Kanpur but we know that will change over time. We have a very good blueprint of how to bat of that surface. Our challenge tomorrow is to try and replicate something similar.”
He said the team tried out a lot many things to break the fourth wicket stand.
“At 100 for 3 on a very slow surface we had got ourselves in a nice position but Virat in particular yesterday was very composed around how he played. There was one half chance but outside of that it was faultless.
“We tried to bowl straight, wide, tried to bring the foot holes into play, bowl around the wicket, a short (ball) plan. We tried a lot of things and we created a lot of chances against Ajinkya but it wasn’t to be. The way they carried on today, it was an exceptional partnership and we have to acknowledge that and say well played.”