New Zealand justified its status of World Test champion by achieving what very few travelling teams have — to bat out the last day of a Test in India. Still, Paras Mhambrey, India’s newly appointed bowling coach, was extremely happy with his bowlers’ effort in the series-opener at Kanpur.
“I think we are happy, honestly. If you look at the outcome of the game — yes, we wanted to win the Test match, we were so close. But looking at the wicket, it was not that kind of a surface,” Mhambrey said on Wednesday, two days ahead of the series-decider scheduled to begin at the Wankhede Stadium.
“We knew in the (last day) morning that this is not the kind of surface where you turn up and run through a side. We knew it was going to be hard work. Especially there was no bounce, the ball was keeping low. Unfortunately, a couple of edges didn’t carry. Had that happened, it would have been a different result. A lot of positive we can take, especially in the effort that we put in. Honestly, I feel we made a game out of it. Picking 19 wickets on that surface wasn’t easy. But we really took it to the end.”
India fell agonisingly short of picking the last wicket as the first of the two Tests was drawn. While Mhambrey was in a way glad to not be a part of the ‘who will Virat Kohli replace at Wankhede?’ decision-making process, he conceded that Wriddhiman Saha remains uncertain due to his neck sprain.
“The physios are in touch constantly with the head coach Rahul (Dravid) and obviously Virat (Kohli) now and as we get closer to the game, we will take a call and see what condition he is in,” Mhambrey said.
With Saha having hurt his neck midway through the match, K.S. Bharat, the back-up wicketkeeper, donned gloves on day three and five.
“But obviously with whatever he (Saha) has been through, I think (it was a) fabulous effort to bat the way he did. It was painful, we realise that but he put his hand up and (said) the team wanted it and he delivered it for the team, really happy to see that.”