Kolkata, Oct 3 (IANS) New Zealand’s stand-in captain Ross Taylor, deputising in place of the indisposed Kane Williamso, said on Monday it was India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha’s unbeaten 50s in both innings that took the game away from them.
“Winning key moments were important. The way Saha came out in both innings when the game was in balance, those two 50s put us on the back foot. Any time you are 100 runs behind on first innings even when got early wickets in second innings they were still 150 runs ahead and knew it’d be tough on that wicket,” Taylor told reporters after the match here.
India thrashed the Kiwis by 178 runs to win the three-match series 2-0 and get back to pole position in the Test rankings dethroning arch-rivals Pakistan.
Taylor hopes to get a similar pitch in the next game starting in Indore from Saturday.
“Rohit’s innings was outstanding but full credit to our bowlers running in. A similar wicket would be good and hopefully regular skipper Kane (Williamson) can win the toss in Indore.”
Winning the toss, according to Taylor, wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
“It would have been nice to bat first but I don’t think that would have made too much difference. They put us under pressure at times and we weren’t able to sustain it with the bat.”
The Kiwis have struggled to cope with the sweltering heat at this time of the year in India. Both in Kanpur and in Kolkata, the tourists found their going tough and were drained frequently.
Taylor made no bones about the fact that this was up there with the hottest Tests he has been part of so far.
“Definitely up with hottest Test series I’ve been part of. A lot of their bowlers and batsmen were tired too. It’s Ideal to send players and get exposure. It all comes down to funding, but we are lucky some players come into IPL who mix and mingle with the stars of today to get knowledge. Kohli says it is cooler in Indore so I’m happy.”
Regular captain Kane Williamson could not play this Test due to illness. Asked whether the ace batsman was missed, Taylor said, “Anytime you have your skipper and best player out is disappointing but there has been times when Kane hasn’t played One-Day Internationals and this probably isn’t going to be the last time, with injuries, the team has to step up.”
“We can’t rely on Kane all the time. It was good to see him walking about (on Monday). I’m sure he’ll be a bit lethargic over the next couple of days, it’s still pretty tiring losing a few kilos and being stuck inside. But there are positive signs he’ll be ready for the next match and it will obviously be good for the team to have our skipper back.”
Taylor said reverse swing did play a part and that the game was decided in the second innings.
“With the new ball it did swing and around and nip. If you saw the way Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami bowled they were able to put us under pressure. But once the ball did get soft it wasn’t as easy for the pacemen. Reverse swing did play a part,” Taylor said.
“It was something I thought we did well but could do a little bit better. Anytime you come over here you know the ball is going to get soft, you have to find other ways of putting pressure on. I thought we were able to control the run-rate in that first innings but in that second innings they played very well and took the game to us.”
On positives drawn from this Test by New Zealand, Taylor said, “In hindsight it would have been nice to score a few more runs and if India were 40/3 in the second innings and their lead wasn’t as much, any time you are playing catch up from that far behind.”
“At the end of the day we were beaten by a better side. Our pacemen were definitely a positive and even the way Mitchell Santner and Jeetan Patel bowled.”
“Jeetan’s 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.”