India batsman Hanuma Vihari pointed out that India showed greater intent in the first innings in Christchurch while sharing his disappointment on not being able to cross the 300-run mark. Vihari feels that the wicket will get better with the passage of time and which will be an advantage for India.
After getting off to a flyer at the Hagley Oval, even after losing Mayank Agarwal cheaply, India threw away the start as they were bundled out for just 242 in the first innings. On a day which was characterised by New Zealand’s dominance, India failed to capture not one but as many as three openings as Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari threw away their wickets after earning hard-fought half-centuries.
Vihari, who launched an effective counterattack with a quickfire 55 only to throw all away, believes that the wicket will get better and better over the course of next three days which might help India get a hold over the game. The middle-order batsman shared that with the likes Bumrah, Shami and Umesh, who can clock in excess of 140 with ease, the visitors can take the game to the Kiwis on a wicket with “deceptive grass cover.”
"This wicket has got a lot of pace. The Wellington wicket was a bit sluggish, especially at the pace and length that the New Zealand bowlers were bowling. It was not really coming on the bat,” Vihari said. “I think this wicket will get better as the game progresses, the pace might increase further, and it might help our bowlers as well. We have three bowlers who can bowl 140+ so with more pace and bounce, I think we'll have the advantage tomorrow.
"I've played an India-A game here and I was communicating to my teammates that it doesn't really do much (despite the deceptive grass covering) except maybe early on in the first session. It tends to flatten after the first day and it gets flat after Day 3 or 4, it'll start slowing down. I thought it played according to our imagination and what we thought and I think it's a fair wicket."
Vihari was clearly disappointed for throwing away such a golden opportunity to put runs on the board and build pressure on the Black Caps but promised of rectifying the fatal flaw in the second innings. Vihari was all praises for Kyle Jamieson whose five-wicket haul fouled India’s hopes of any counterattack. The young pacer uses his extraordinary height to a great advantage and a green wicket, as in Christchurch, only amplifies his impact on the game.
"I think anything above 300 would have been an ideal score on this wicket. But having said that, we showed more intent than what we did in Wellington. That's a positive takeaway and maybe in the second innings we can carry forward the intent and translate it into big scores. We had three players score fifty today, if one of us had gone on to score a hundred, we would have reached 300. We'll try to correct that in the second innings.
"Jamieson gets much more bounce than the other bowlers. The extra bounce is a big factor, especially on wickets like this one where it is a little more spongy than what we experience in India or the other countries. So due to the extra bounce, we need to be very careful on whether to play his deliveries off the front-foot or the back-foot and we'll need to leave the deliveries well as well. With his height, fuller balls become more dangerous than short balls. We were aware of it, but I thought he bowled well. He deservingly got his 5-wicket haul,” Vihari signed off.