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Kohli praises lower-order batting performance against New Zealand



Kanpur, Sep 26: Indian Test cricket skipper Virat Kohli on Monday said the teams lower-order batting performance has improved and that is the area they need to keep working on to win more matches.

At the post-match presentation, the Delhi batsman said that those 40-50 runs from that lower-middle order can provide much strength to the team even when they play in overseas conditions.

Ravindra Jadeja scored unbeaten 42 and 50 runs in the first and second innings respectively, while Ashwin contributed 40 runs in the first essay during the opening Test, which India won by 197 runs at the Green Park here.

"They think they can get you out for 300 but you end up getting 340-360 and thus the momentum shifts from the opposition. We have improved in this area and we need to keep working on it because those 40-50 runs will be crucial when we play abroad," Kohli said.

"One of the most important things in Test cricket is to have a strong lower order who can contribute and this is one area we are working hard with the bowlers, everyone from Ashwin onwards wants to contribute and that puts a psychological dent on the opposition."

Kohli said, "The boys have applied themselves really well. Few moments we were in a spot of bother. Initially we had momentum with us when we were batting but then couple of soft dismissals and we were on the backfoot. But Jadeja and Ashwin batted really well in the first innings. Umesh also contributed and those 30-40 runs make a psychological difference."

Kohli, who termed as "memorable" the win in the historic 500th Test, also lauded New Zealand for showing character and guts to fight it out despite being in a tough position when they were set a target of 434 by India.

"It has been a memorable Test match. It has been very good right from the second day onwards when New Zealand were batting really well, and me and Ashwin were chatting that it is going to be an exciting Test and we have to play our best to keep them under pressure," he said.

"They showed good resilience and resistance and that is something you want to see from opposition. I think credit goes to New Zealand as well, the reason that match went on to the second session on day 5 because of the character and guts that they showed. I am sure the series will get more competitive as we go on," Kohli added.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said that his side took positives from the Test.

The skipper also lauded his players, especially Mitchell Santner, for efforts with the bat and ball and Luke Ronchi's 80-run inning. 

"There are lots of positives and lessons which we will take from this match to the next one. It is really two sessions where the match slipped out of our hands and India capitalised," he said.

"They were fantastic, especially today as it is not easy with the ball turning sharply and against a couple of world class spinners. So, the way Mitchell Santner (71) contributed with the bat and ball was impressive and Luke Ronchi (80) also coming into the side and doing well," Williamson said.

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