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Wellington: At a loss of words to explain India’s decline in the ongoing second and final Test, batsman Shikhar Dhawan conceded that New Zealand have turned the tables on the visitors.
However, the opener insisted that India still have a chance to not just save the Test, but win it.
The hosts took a 325-run lead at the end of the fourth day’s play at the Basin Reserve, with skipper Brendon McCullum batting on 281. But Dhawan chose to stay positive after what was a thoroughly disappointing day for the Indian bowlers.
“There is still one more day left... We will try our best to win but even if we lose, there’s a lot to learn from it. There is disappointment but we have played some good cricket, especially getting them out for a low score in the first innings,” Dhawan said after the day’s play.
“Then we batted well in tough conditions and basically dominated the match till Sunday. But today they turned the tables on us. On the final day morning, we will look to get them out and then whatever the target is, we will bat according to the situation,” he added.
McCullum was involved in a world record stand of 352 runs for the sixth wicket with keeper-batsman BJ Watling (124). The duo thwarted Indian hopes of victory on the third or fourth day, after the hosts were reduced to 94/5 at one stage.
“The wicket has improved a lot. It has got slower as the game has gone on. McCullum and Watling batted beautifully of course. They respected the good balls and didn’t give us any chances the whole day. They batted very well,” Dhawan said.
The pair might not have given any major chances during the day, but McCullum did offer an outside edge that leapt past Dhawan at third slip. He was also dropped twice on the third day by Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli.
“For that moment, that’s what we had planned, to go in with one slip and one gully. We wanted McCullum to hit a few shots. But when the slips were there, he wasn’t hitting many shots. When they weren’t there, a nick came and unfortunately I was a bit far,” Dhawan said about the edge that flew past him.
“We bowled in good areas and were patient… Their run-rate was low, but they didn’t give any chances. Once the batsmen get set, and they score big runs, it isn’t easy to get them out. And they applied themselves very nicely as well. Unfortunately, we dropped McCullum on the third day and paid a heavy price for that,” he added.
“It was the same wicket and then the attack bowled very well. They did a great job on a third day wicket and got half the team out. We planned accordingly to the situation. After bowling all day, the bowlers get tired too. So we were just looking to bowl in the right areas.”