India failed to bowl out New Zealand on a cracking pitch on the fifth day of the first cricket Test here on Monday but skipper Ajinkya Rahane heaped praise on his players, saying they tried their best and nothing could have been done differently.
Mumbai-born Ejaz Patel (2 not out off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Rachin Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) batted 8.4 overs after the ninth wicket fell to give New Zealand a memorable draw in the deteriorating light.
Rahane said during the post-match prize distribution ceremony, ‘It was a very good match of cricket, they played very well. We came back very well after the first season.
“We were trying to bowl five-six overs in the end. I don’t think we could have done anything differently.
When Rahane was asked whether he could have declared the innings early on the fourth day in the final session, he refused. On Monday, the umpires used light meters to measure the light after each over in the final half hour of the match. Rahane said that the right decision was taken in view of the situation.
He said, ‘There was constant talk with the umpires about Roshni. They made the decision and I think they were right. I think the spinners had to bowl long spells on this wicket. It was about rotating the bowlers.
Rahane, who has been in poor form for some time, heaped praise on debutant Shreyas Iyer but did not specify who would make it to the squad for Virat Kohli in the next Test in Mumbai.
Rahane said, ‘I am extremely happy for Shreyas. He had to wait a long time to make his debut. The way he was batting, first-class cricket has been fantastic. Virat is making a comeback in the next match. The management will decide on it (on the playing XI).’
The second Test will be played in Mumbai from December 3 to 7. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lauded the lower-order batsmen, including night watchman William Somerville.
Somerville scored 36 runs while spending 125 minutes at the crease. He said, ‘The match was very close throughout the match. Overall a great match. All three outcomes were possible. We showed great spirit while batting throughout the day. Great experience for Rachin, Ejaz and Somerville.’
Williamson said, ‘Both the fast bowlers (Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson) did a great job. It was an incredible effort to bowl long spells. We know this Indian team is very strong.
He said, “Overall the experience of this match was good. We have to prepare for a different pitch in Mumbai.