Spinners bowled brilliantly: Dhoni
Bengaluru, Sep 3: A thrilling contest between India and New Zealand kept the spectators on the edge of their seats till MS Dhoni hoisted Jeetan Patel for a six over mid-wicket to seal the result in India’s favour. Although the five-day game ended in four days, the Black Caps gave the Indians a run for their money at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, until Dhoni and Virat Kohli snatched victory with gritty knocks under pressure.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, both the captains lauded their teams’ performances and reflected on the game.
India captain MS Dhoni:
On the team’s performance in conditions that weren’t typically Indian
Before we came here, we thought we were playing in Bangalore; as soon as we came here, it was Napier. It [the wicket] was quite flat, but their fast bowlers bowled brilliantly. They got a bit more purchase [from it] compared to our bowlers. But our spinners were brilliant and that’s one of the main reasons we have won this game. Also Virat’s batting in both the innings was superb. Overall, I am quite happy with the performance.
On his bowlers’ performance
The spinners bowled brilliantly. Initially, there was something for the fast bowlers [in the wicket]; but on the first day wicket I think [Pragyan Ojha] bowled really well and he was well supported by the other three bowlers. The positive thing about this bowling attack is that they hunt as a pack. One bowler will take most of the wickets in that particular innings but he will be well supported by some of the other bowlers. And that has been the case through this series as well as the past few series. [Ravichandran] Ashwin and Ojha bowl together as a pair and they are really well supported by Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav.
On batting in these conditions
The first 30-35 overs were really crucial because the SG Test bowl doesn’t swing too much in the first five overs. But after that it starts swinging [and] until it doesn’t get soft there is something for the fast bowlers. So we all knew, once we are through those 40-45 overs, it will become slightly easy [to bat]. So the less number of wickets we lose, it will be easier for the lower-order batsmen to score runs. When I went in [to bat] we were in a bit of a spot, but I think Virat Kohli batted really well. There’s two ways of getting out of trouble: one is to fight through it and the other is to soak up the pressure. And I think Virat did that in both the innings in the Test match. He has got brilliant temperament and he just needs to keep working on it.
On the positives from the series
Both wickets [Hyderabad and Bengaluru] were tough wickets. The bowlers did a really good job. Catching was good, although we dropped one or two catches. But overall, the catching in the slips was brilliant and was well supported by the close-in fielders. Also, the good thing was even when you are bowling on a wicket that was quite flat to start off with the spinners were willing to bowl with mid-on, mid-off and the square-leg up. So that way you could put the pressure on batsman to play some big shots and there would be good chance of getting the batsman out.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor:
On the Test match
We had our chances in the game. It was a fantastic Test match; we showed a lot of character and a good comeback from a terrible Test match in Hyderabad. But full credit to India; they played very well.
On whether NZ fancied their chances of winning after taking four wickets today
I think so, in this game. They lost five [wickets] for fifty in the first innings and we always knew we were close. But the way Kohli and Dhoni batted was outstanding, and that took the game away from us.
On the pitch
The outfield was outstanding. And there was a little bit of spin and little bit of bounce [in the wicket] when you bent your back. So, you can’t really ask for more in a Test wicket.
On the positives from the series, especially regarding the young pace attack
Yes, they are young and inexperienced, but I thought they showed a lot of ticker. Tim Southee came in [this match] after not playing in the first Test and [then] getting seven wickets showed lot of promise. But I am proud of the whole team; they came back. I am sure we will learn from this and come back a better team.
On the tour being a big learning curve for the team
We came here with some standards that we wanted to maintain. We did that in patches; but India were too good. Hopefully, when we play next year against South Africa, we can learn from this and it changes around.