Both captains acknowledged the role of the early morning moisture, and therefore the toss, in India's series-clinching nine-wicket win at the post-match press conference on Saturday.

“There was always a little bit of help in the morning and it was seaming all over the place and then it was spinning because it was still damp,” said a downbeat Daniel Vettori. “We would love to have scored more runs but it certainly wasn't easy.”

Reflecting on New Zealand's ninth straight defeat, he said, “I think most teams rely on confidence and it hasn't been easy for us because of what's happened in these last few games.

Needed one good show

“I think it only takes one performance, some guy scoring a hundred or taking five wickets, to turn things around. We've got to hope and we've got to believe that it will happen during the last two games.”

Gautam Gambhir said his bowlers made perfect use of the conditions. “We always knew that it does a bit because of the red soil and early morning start,” he said. “It was a good toss to win, but your bowlers needed to do the job up front and that's what they did, containing New Zealand to 224.”

Pat for Zaheer

Zaheer Khan's early wickets were critical in achieving this, and Gambhir was effusive in his praise for the left-armer. “I think he's the best left-arm fast bowler in the world. Any captain would love to have him in the side and the way he bowled today says a lot about it. Always great to have him back.”

Gambhir persisted with attacking fields for much of New Zealand's innings, with leg slip playing a prominent role in the dismissals of Scott Styris and Gareth Hopkins.

“There was still a bit of moisture in the wicket and I wanted to take wickets at all stages of the innings,” he said, explaining the approach. “Taking wickets is the only way to contain the other side and New Zealand bat very deep, with Kyle Mills coming in at number 10.”

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