September 22, 2016 8:16:09 pm
Opener Murali Vijay on Thursday admitted that Indian batsmen were guilty of playing loose shots to let go the advantage in the first Test against New Zealand but asserted that the hosts have put up a good total to make a game out of it.
India were in a strong position at 154 for 1 at one stage before a middle-order collapse saw them reduce to 291 for 9 at stumps on the opening day. Vijay top-scored for the hosts with a 65 but himself played a poor shot, a cut off a not so-short ball off leg-break bowler Ish Sodhi and was caught behind.
Apart from him, skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s poor shot selection also resulted in wickets. Asked if it was lack of application from the batsmen or the wicket that resulted to India losing the advantage, Vijay said, it was a “bit of both”. “We got out to loose shots as well and wicket was deteriorating as well, so we really got to be patient on this wicket. It’s a lesson learnt and hopefully we can put up a better show in the second innings,” Vijay said at the press conference.
Talking about his own shot, Vijay said it was out of lapse of concentration. “It was just a bad shot selection and I can really work on that and put up a better show in the second innings.”
The Tamil Nadu opener said that despite losing wickets in a heap, India were in a “good position”. “We have put runs on the board. What we have got to do now is go there and put pressure on them. It’s a good total to play around with,” he said with confidence.
“We have our plans, the wicket is on the slower side and it is going to be difficult to score runs. That is what I have experienced on the first day, so it’s going to be difficult for them as well with the quality of Ashwin and Jadeja in the side. It’s going to be a good day for us, hopefully.”
Asked how the team felt in the dressing room when Rohit, who had stabilised the innings with his 52-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin, got out by chipping the ball to Sodhi, Vijay said, “That’s his area, when it comes out good, it looks good. When it does not, you fall on the wrong side. We still got to back our instincts.
“At the end of the day, we are playing a sport where you go to win matches rather than just participate in it. Whatever has got you here, you got to back that,” he said backing his colleague.
Vijay said the New Zealand spin attack was decent. “I would say, they had a good attack. According to situation, we got to make a play out of it. We knew this is going to be the plan (Kiwis fielding three spinners), we were well prepared for it. We could have capitalized a bit more after tea,” he said.
Vijay had a single digit score (of 7) to show in India’s previous assignment in the West Indies as he came in and out of the team. Asked how satisfying it was to be among runs after the Caribbean tour, he said, “I played only one innings there and after that it’s been long and after that I am happy to play cricket again.”
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