Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson had said that despite the defeat, there were a lot of positives to take for the match, starting with Mitch Santner's all-round ability. He also refused to clarify whether faltering opener Martin Guptill will be dropped for the second Test at the Eden Gardens.
New Zealand were seemingly in a strong position at the end of day 2 of the Kanpur Test with the scoreboard reading 152/1. But they submitted to the brilliance of Indian spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin as they lost the first Test by a margin of 197 runs. Nevertheless, there have been enough positives to take from this defeat, says New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. Praising spinner Mitch Santner's performance in the match, where the 24-year old fought back with 71-run knock in the second innings, Williamson said,
"He(Santner) played outstandingly well. It's his first time in this part of the world playing Test cricket and it was a great step in the right direction for his game. We all know he has got the talent with bat and ball and in the field, to apply himself like he did and bowl a number of overs and be successful was very good against good players of spin. It was a huge positive for us."
"He'll look forward to the next one and I'm sure he's learned a lot from this experience," added the Kiwi captain.
Williamson also praised the efforts of Luke Ronchi who played a fighting knock of 80 runs which delayed the Indian win by almost a session.
"There were a lot of positives for us. Guys who hadn't played here before spent some valuable time in the middle and made some valuable contributions. Mitch Santner for one and Luke Ronchi another who certainly showed they had the skill-sets to perform well in these conditions.
Williamson stressed that patience is the key for success under testing conditions in India.
"It is a challenge against a very good attack but they've got the skill-sets and it's being able to stick to it for a lot longer. That is the same with the ball for our young spin attack who are extremely talented. Being over here in these hot conditions, being able to remain focussed for a long period because you know if you put the ball in the area for long enough, you'll get your rewards. That's what the Indian team showed us," said Williamson, to PTI, on Monday.
The skipper also spoke about the call up for spinner Jeetan Patel, who has replaced injured Mark Craig in the squad for the rest of the series.
"For Jeetan to come into the squad after a period of time away from the team is a great opportunity for him. He's been a quality performer for a long period of time and it is that like-for-like swap as well. Jeets loves the game of cricket and loves playing for his country. It was perhaps unexpected. He has played a lot in England lately and almost considers himself a local in that part of the world but we know he's not and we are looking forward to having him back in the side.
When asked whether opener Martin Guptill, who has been out of form lately, will be included in the squad for the second Test, Williamson remained mum over the selection decision.
"In the first innings he got off to a good start and was perhaps a bit unfortunate in the second innings but he has certainly shown his class in the white ball format and we are backing him to show that in the red ball. He is working hard at his game and looking to improve. It isn't the easiest of places to play sometimes. We'll sit down in the next day or two and look at the side we might go with," he concluded.
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