India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni lavished praise on rising star Virat Kohli for yet another important knock under pressure in the second Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here yesterday.
The match could have gone either way after the hosts slipped from 152-2 to 166-5 before achieving their 261-run target in the final session, thanks to a 96-run stand between man-of-the-match Virat Kohli (51 not out) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (48 not out).
MS Dhoni (left) and Virat Kohli rejoice after India’s win at Bangalore yesterday. Pics/AFP
“Virat played a magnificent innings. He’s a fighting character. He knows how to soak pressure… brilliant temperament. There are two ways to tackle the pressure — either you fight through it or you just soak it. I believe Virat really batted well. He is also a good slip and close catcher,” said Dhoni, who finished the match with a six over mid-wicket off off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
Kohli hits nine fours
The Indian skipper hit two sixes and three fours, while Kohli cracked nine fours. In the first innings too, Kohli steadied the ship with a composed knock of 103 under pressure after losing the top order cheaply. Kohli cracked 58 in the first innings of the opening Test against the Kiwis in Hyderabad a couple of few weeks before.
Losing skipper Ross Taylor was also effusive in his praise for Kohli. “We had our chances to win this Test after getting early wickets. But Kohli was outstanding. He stood like a rock,” said Taylor.
Dhoni, however, is eager to stick to the same team for England series as well despite a few concerns with form of Gautam Gambhir. “I am not thinking of reshuffling (the team) before the England series. I would like to continue with the same boys. Gambhir is batting well in the nets. It is just a matter of time he bounces back,” he said.
Not worried about Sachin’s failure: Dhoni
The cricketing pundits may be baffled by Sachin Tendulkar’s poor form in the two-Test series, but Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not worried about the record-breaking veteran batsman.
Tendulkar’s defence has been breached three times in a row in the Test series against New Zealand. After being bowled in the first innings of the opening Test in Hyderabad and the first innings here, Tim Southee made it three in a row when he managed to bring back one to knock Tendulkar’s middle stump on the fourth day of the second Test yesterday. He was evidently frustrated as he made his way back.
Trent Boult cleaned him up for just 19 in the first Test before Doug Bracewell went through Tendulkar’s defence after he left a gap between his bat and pads in the first innings of the Bangalore Test. The legendary batsman managed to score only 63 in both Tests.
“I am not worried with Tendulkar’s failure because every time people criticise him, he comebacks brilliantly,” said Dhoni yesterday. A few days ago, legendary Sunil Gavaskar reckoned that age is taking its toll on Tendulkar’s footwork.
Number of runs scored by India's Cheteshwar Pujara, who emerged the highest scorer among the two sides
India batsman Virat Kohli's average in the two-test series against New Zealand that concluded yesterday
The number of New Zealand wickets bagged by India’s spinners R Ashwin (18) and Pragyan Ojha (13)
Number of centuries scored in the series. Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor are the three centurions
India’s highest total in the series, which MSD & Co scored in the first innings of the first Test at Hyderabad
New Zealand’s highest total in the series, which they scored in the first innings of the second Test at Bangalore