Kohli wants India to build on Australia series gains in New Zealand

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After beating Australia 2-1 in the ODI series at home, India captain Virat Kohli hoped his team could take all that they did right in the series on to New Zealand shores, where his side travels for a full tour, starting with a five-match T20I series on 24 January.

India conceded the opening match to Australia by a massive margin, but bounced back to win the next two games, and the series. Both wins were earned in different fashion, with India piling on 340 in Rajkot and then defending it with some top-class death bowling, while in the decider in Bengaluru, India were made to chase down 287, which they did with seeming ease.

That India won the series despite conceding the toss on each occasion was an important achievement at a time when teams winning the toss are increasingly bestowed with an inherent advantage, and Kohli expressed his wish to see the same kind of adaptability and efficiency against Kane Williamson’s team.

"We want to bat well when we bat first, and in case we're defending a low total, we should be able to do that as well," Kohli said. "Clarity of mind is really crucial because we're playing in conditions that are not ours, so we have to take even more intensity into that series to put the home team under pressure, set that sort of template from game one and build from there.

"We can't afford to ease into the series after two games, because then it keeps getting tougher and tougher, so we'll look to make a mark in the first game that we play, play expressive cricket and be sure of what we want to do."

But the lessons to carry to the tour aren’t limited to the Australia series alone. India dominated the home team the last time they toured New Zealand, in early 2019, when they defeated them 4-1 in the ODIs, although the hosts prevailed in the T20Is.

We want to bat well when we bat first, and in case we're defending a low total, we should be able to do that as well.

Virat Kohli

"We were very positive in how we played,” Kohli said of the 2019 series, "very sure of what we wanted to do. The thing about playing away is, if you're able to put the home team under pressure, you can enjoy your cricket. You have to win at home, there's that sort of feeling. So if you bring out your A game, you can really put them under pressure.

"That's what we did last year, squeezed them in the middle overs, picked up wickets, and the spinners were outstanding. Looking forward to take that same intensity into the series. We've played really well in 2020, want to continue that."

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