Despite India’s fightback from a hopeless situation in the first Test, the end result added to the side’s sorry overseas tale.

The 40-run loss at Auckland was India’s 10th defeat in 11 successive Tests away from home.

Although the bowler-inspired fightback gave him some solace, Dhoni was disappointed that the team conceded too much ground early.

“We gave away too many runs in the first innings. Then we did not bat well at all in the first innings. That cost us in the end. But it was a great game of Test cricket,” the Indian skipper said.

Dhoni conceded Virat Kohli’s dismissal was a turning point but did not put the blame on him. “I do not want to single out a single individual,” he said.

On Ravindra Jadeja’s tactics and eventual dismissal, he said “At that stage, we required a few runs. So Jadeja said ‘I will take the risks.’ The field was attacking it paid off for a while. Had we got 20 runs more that way, we would have slowed down.”

Dhoni said India’s pace bowling in the New Zealand second innings here was the best he has seen from his pacemen as a group during the last four to five years.

“They bowled really well. They did not give width so I could remove the point and put him at short extra cover. This gave us a few catches,” he said.

Dhoni was pleased with opener Shikhar Dhawan’s approach in the second innings. “I think the one-game breather we gave him in the ODIs refreshed him mentally.”

The Indian captain was impressed with paceman Mohammed Shami’s control and his seam position.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said his first innings 224 was his best in Tests now that his team had won. “Considering India’s ranking, this victory is right up there.”

McCullum singled out paceman Neil Wagner and said, “He epitomises everything we want to be as a team. He gives his everything.”

Asked about not enforcing the follow on, McCullum said he wanted to give his bowlers some rest. “I always said we have the bowling to take 20 wickets. Also I did not want a scenario where we would have had to chase 150 on the last day, bringing Jadeja into the picture.”

The New Zealand captain said, “I was a bit concerned when India was 220-odd for two but we showed fantastic character to come through that phase. I knew the second new ball would be important.”

On Ross Taylor’s availability for the Wellington Test, McCullum said, “He is going to head home tonight and hopefully Victoria will give birth in the next couple of days. Hopefully he will be available for the next game.”


Gallant India loses despite Dhawan’s ton February 9, 2014

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