Wellington, Feb 24 (AFP/APP): Virat Kohli refused to make excuses for India’s comprehensive loss to New Zealand in the first Test in Wellington on Monday with the skipper saying they were simply “not good enough”.
The world’s top-ranked side crashed to a 10-wicket defeat in the first session of day four to snap a nine-Test unbeaten streak dating back to the 2018 Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Faced with a first innings deficit of 183 — after being sent in to bat first on a green wicket and on a windy, overcast day — India were rolled for 191 in the second innings leaving New Zealand a mere 10 runs for victory.
“We did not show enough competitiveness,” Kohli said as his batsmen failed in the face of New Zealand’s three-pronged seam attack of senior bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and newcomer Kyle Jamieson, who took 18 of the 20 wickets.
Man-of-the-match Southee took four for 20 on the final morning as he mopped up the Indian tail to finish with five for 61 to go with his four wicket bag in the first innings.
“In the past we have known when we played good cricket and we lost and we’ve been in the game, but I think we let ourselves down massively in the first innings with the bat,” Kohli said.
“You could say the toss played a big role in this Test match but it’s an uncontrollable so you can’t really focus on that and take that as a massive factor.
“We don’t want to make too much of this pitch and what conditions were like. The simple truth is we did not play good enough cricket and that’s why we lost.
– ‘They outplayed us’ –
“Some people might want it to be the end of the world but it’s not. For us it’s a game of cricket we lost and we move on, we keep our heads high.”
While much was made of how the New Zealand bowlers made the most of their home conditions — bouncing back in their first Test since being thrashed 3-0 in Australia — it was how they performed with the bat that made a critical difference.
The last three wickets in New Zealand’s first innings produced 123 runs to get the total up to 348 while the last three for India totaled 22 in the first innings and just two in the second.
Kohli believed if India had been able to get their first knock up to 240 it would have given his bowlers a better number to defend, but they had to accept they were outsmarted by the New Zealand.
“They get in the mind of the batsmen and then make the batsmen do something that they don’t want to,” he said.
“To be honest they did not give us any room even on the back foot or the front foot so we have to accept they outplayed us in this game and they bowled much better than we did.”
The second Test starts in Christchurch on Saturday and Kohli is expecting a much improved performance.
“There’s no doubt about it, especially in the first innings, we will try and put their bowlers under pressure and try and make them do something different rather than them make us do something different.”