IND Vs NZ: Confused Indian batsmen succumb to pacers Trent Boult, Tim Southee

Updated: Feb 25, 2020, 07:52 IST | Gaurav Joshi | Wellington

Virat Kohli's first instinct was to duck under the short ball, but realising the slowness of the delivery, he changed his mind halfway from defence to attack.

Hanuma Vihari is stunned after being bowled by NZ's Tim Southee during Day Four of the first Test in Wellington yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Hanuma Vihari is stunned after being bowled by NZ's Tim Southee during Day Four of the first Test in Wellington yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Virat Kohli believes in clarity and intent. Half-hearted efforts bother him and rarely do you see indecisiveness in his batting. However, the Indian captain's dismissal in the second innings symbolised the confusion amongst the Indian batting.

Kohli's first instinct was to duck under the short ball, but realising the slowness of the delivery, he changed his mind halfway from defence to attack. The result was a half-hearted pull shot that led to the ball kissing the glove and being pouched by the wicketkeeper.

After the crushing 10-wicket loss on Monday, Kohli stated: "We will definitely be much more positive. There's no doubt about it, especially in the first innings. We will try and put their bowlers under pressure and try and make them do something different rather than them making us do something different."

There is no doubt the New Zealanders bowled exceptionally well and Kohli rightly acknowledged that fact. Ajinkya Rahane and Mayank Agarwal were two batsmen who got the balance of attack and defence right through the match.

Rahane tried to disrupt

Colin de Grandhomme's length by taking a couple of steps down the pitch off the 13th ball he faced. But that would be the only time any innovation was tried.

Cheteshwar Pujara failed to break the shackles and perhaps didn't do enough to disturb the New Zealand bowlers' plans. The Indian No. 3 scored 11 off 81 balls in the second innings and went 31 balls without scoring a run. Even hard-hitting Rishabh Pant was conservative in the first innings, scoring 11 off 48 balls at one stage.

The big challenge for India is to get the balance right. One approach Kohli certainly doesn't want from his team is to be cautious. "I don't think being cautious will help because you might stop playing your shots.

"You will start doubting that if even singles are not coming in those conditions, what will you do? You are just waiting for when that good ball will come and you will be dismissed," he said.

The Indian batsmen need to quickly overcome the mental barriers.

Kohli might have stated repeatedly that the current team is least concerned with the outside noise, but with the batting unit unable to post 200 in either innings, it is perhaps the inner voice that seemed to have an element of disharmony.

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