February 24, 2020 / 2:36 AM / a month ago

Cricket-New Zealand won as India did not play well enough, Kohli says

WELLINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli had a simple and honest message for the tens of millions of fans in his cricket-crazy nation after they lost the first test to New Zealand by 10 wickets at the Basin Reserve on Monday.

“We did not play good enough cricket and that’s why we lost,” Kohli told reporters after the loss before lunch on the fourth day.

“Some people might want it to be the end of the world, but it’s not. For us it’s a game of cricket. We lost and we move on, we keep our heads high.”

New Zealand had virtually assured themselves victory on a pivotal third day when their lower order contributed 123 runs for the last three wickets, to take their first innings to 348 and a 183-run lead.

Then they reduced the tourists to 144-4 by Sunday’s close of play and upon returning for the fourth day, Tim Southee and Trent Boult claimed five of the last six wickets needed to bowl them out for 191.

It took Tom Latham and Tom Blundell just 10 balls to score the nine runs required for victory, which was India’s first loss in the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship.

Kohli praised New Zealand’s bowlers for their ability to build sustained periods of pressure and cramp the natural strokemakers in his side and said they had contributed to his side’s collapse for 165 in their first innings.

“I think we let ourselves down, massively, in the first innings with the bat,” Kohli added.

“We knew the conditions were going to keep getting better so if you get 230-240 in the first innings of the test match then you’re giving your bowlers a chance and then your second innings deficit also becomes smaller.”

The second match of the two-test series begins in Christchurch on Saturday and Kohli was not too concerned with his batsmen as technically they were all sound and able to deal with New Zealand’s attack.

The trick was, he said, was to be more positive in their approach and put the loss out of mind as they prepared for the match at Hagley Oval.

“We have to understand we were not at our best in this game,” he said. “There is no shame or no harm in accepting that.

“We’re not bothered by another loss but we’re not going to take a backward step. We will try and put their bowlers under pressure.

“As international cricketers we are good enough and that’s why we are here. We definitely take this as a challenge to put in a better batting performance next time.” (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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