After the victory against New Zealand in the first Test match of the series, Virat Kohli has called for improved batting efforts from India's lower order batsmen. The Indian skipper also praised Cheteshwar Pujara for his batting and credited New Zealand team for showing resilience.
Indian team made the 500th Test of the nation memorable by winning the game by a huge margin of 197 runs. While praising the brilliant performance by the team, skipper Virat Kohli also asked the lower order batsmen to contribute some more runs as well.
Kohli said in the post match presentation, “One of the most important things in Test cricket is to have a strong lower-order who can contribute and this is one area we are working hard with the bowlers, everyone from Ashwin onwards wants to contribute and that puts a psychological dent on the opposition.”
"They think they can get you out for 300 but you end up getting 340-360 and thus the momentum shifts from the opposition. We have improved in this area and we need to keep working on it because those 40-50 runs will be crucial when we play abroad," he added.
Speaking about the handy contributions of Ashwin and Jadeja with the bat, the Indian skipper said, “The boys have applied themselves really well. Few moments we were in a spot of bother. Initially we had momentum with us when we were batting but then couple of soft dismissals and we were at the back foot. But Jadeja and Ashwin batted really well in the first innings. Umesh also contributed and those 30-40 runs make a psychological difference.”
Underlining the importance of Cheteshwar Pujara in the set-up, Kohli said, “Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs. That's where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him. He has worked hard on his game. He scored at a good strike rate in the Duleep Trophy. Even on this wicket he was scoring at 65, almost 70 strike rate,” reported ESPNcricinfo.
He credited the change in approach of Pujara, as the main reason of success.
"Which for me was a revelation, to see Pujara bat that way. Because he used to bat that way initially. Especially at home. If you see his double-hundreds against England and Australia, he will dominate spinners. That's exactly what we wanted him to do. We didn't want him to go into a shell. We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game. That's all we wanted to convey to him,” Kohli said in the post-match presser.
Indian skipper gave credited the New Zealand team for putting up a valiant show.
"It has been a memorable Test match. It has been very good right from the second day onwards when New Zealand were batting really well and me and Ashwin were chatting that it is going to be an exciting Test and we have to play our best to keep them under pressure," he said.