New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult was pleased by his team's success in restricting Virat Kohli yet again, on day two of the second Test in Christchurch.
Kohli looked in better touch in the second innings than he did in the first, striking three boundaries during his 30-ball stay, each with conviction, until he was trapped leg-before by a full-length delivery from Colin de Grandhomme. That completed a rare off series for the second ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Batting Rankings, as he finished with 38 runs from four innings.
Boult, who was the pick of New Zealand bowlers on day two, snaring three wickets during his nine-over spell, was happy to see the back of Kohli for another low-score, while still maintaining him being a quality batsman.
He is a big player and we just tried to put enough pressure on him, keep him quiet and soak up those boundary balls, and it was nice to see him make a few errors.
"He (Kohli) is one of the best players in the world, no doubt about that," Boult said. "Obviously, he is a big player for them and we just tried to put enough pressure on him, keep him quiet and soak up those boundary balls, and it was nice to see him make a few errors. We were lucky to get two that lined up and hit him on the pads nicely and it was a good feeling to see the back of him."
Boult gave his team an early breakthrough before Tea, sending back Mayank Agarwal in his very first over, before castling the well set Cheteshwar Pujara and night-watchman Umesh Yadav with sharp incoming deliveries from round the wicket. As it turned out, India stood at 90/6 at stumps, only 97 ahead in their second innings with just four wickets remaining. The left-armer acknowledged the home-comforts and the swing-friendly conditions, while addressing his team's strong hold on the game.
"Probably, they are used to playing on low and slow pitches in India and it took time for them to get adjusted. Just like if I bowl in India, it will be foreign conditions for me," he said. "We are all enjoying hunting out there as a pack, getting the ball to move around. I think the bowling unit is very clear about how they are trying to target the opposition.
"Sixteen wickets, I am not sure if that's up there with a record in Test cricket in terms of day two but the bowlers obviously pitched the ball up nicely and got rewards. Seeing the ball move around like it did, I feel we are in a decent position."
As for the visitors, their bowlers made a solid comeback after toiling hard on day one, with the experienced pair of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah sharing seven wickets between them to restrict New Zealand to 235 in their first innings. Bumrah, who had copped severe criticism for his poor returns on the tour earlier, was satisfied with the overall effort, stating that his prime focus remained more on the execution that the eventual results.
Jasprit Bumrah does a double strike as New Zealand continue to tumble!— ICC (@ICC) March 1, 2020
First BJ Watling skews a drive to the man at point before Tim Southee wafts at one to feather a catch to the 'keeper.#NZvIND pic.twitter.com/AJ9lXeUCKc
"I don't look at personal performances," he said. "You look to do the processes right and you look to bowl well. You look to create pressure. Some days, I will get wickets and some days, someone else will. My focus is always on what I could do."
The speedster was optimistic of his team's chances in the Test. "We, as a unit, are very close and we are working hard. We lost more wickets than we wanted to but we don't play the blame game and we try to keep everyone together. We have two batsmen left and we would look to push tomorrow as well. We can try and work hard and score as many as we can and we will see how it goes."
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!