Kane Williamson: ‘Santner and Ronchi were outstanding’

Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Stantner, playing in India for the first time, batted better than New Zealand’s top-order to put on a 100-run stand in the second innings. Skipper Kane Williamson said their performances were a "positive to be carried to the next Test."

Kane Williamson AP India v New Zealand,

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said the team will look to apply the skills that worked for them for a longer period of time in the subsequent Tests.   -  AP

Starting the final day of the first Test on a hopeless note, Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Stantner, playing in India for the first time, batted better than New Zealand’s top-order to put on a 100-run stand in the second innings. Ronchi and Santner resisted for a while before Indian bowlers breached their defences to clinch the host a memorable win.

Skipper Kane Williamson said their performances were a “positive to be carried to the next Test.”

Excerpts from his post-match conference:

On losing from a good position (New Zealand was 159/1 in the first innings):

Obviously whenever you lose it's disappointing. But credit certainly has to go to India. They're a good side, particularly in their home conditions, and they showed that again. In saying that, there are certainly positives for us to take from this Test into the next one. The way Mitch Santner played and Luke Ronchi coming back into the side were a couple of highlights. As a unit we want to be able to apply that pressure for longer, which isn't always easy in this part of the world against a side like India. But it's certainly a challenge for us moving forward.

On what went wrong:

On the scorecard, it looks like a biggish defeat but there were a couple of moments that I would reflect on where the game turned slightly more in their favour: the back end of our first innings with the bat and when we bowled in the second innings, there was probably a three-hour period where we didn't bowl very well and they got away from us. It's a combination of us not quite being at our best at certain times and them playing very well.

On his dismissal in both innings by Ravichandran Ashwin:

They were pretty good balls and he is a pretty good bowler. In these conditions there is certainly more spin. So you do take those things into account. It is part and parcel of playing here and we have to adapt our games to be better equipped going into the next match.

On playing Ashwin and Jadeja:

They're both very good bowlers but there were a lot of positives for us. Guys who hadn't played here before spent some valuable time in the middle and made some valuable contributions. That is the same with the ball for our young spin attack who are extremely talented. In these hot conditions, we should remain focussed for a long period and put the ball in the right area. That's what the Indian team showed us. They put the ball in a good area for a long period of time and they got the rewards.

On picking Ravindra Jadeja’s deliveries:

It is certainly difficult, particularly with the new ball. There is that natural variation because it is hard; some balls skid and some balls turn a lot more. Naturally, the slower one tends to turn a bit more.

On Mitchell Santner:

He played outstandingly well. It's his first time in this part of the world playing Test cricket and it was a great step in the right direction for his game. We all know he has got the talent with bat and ball and in the field. To apply himself like he did and bowl a number of overs and be successful against good players of spin, it was a huge positive for us. I'm sure he's learned a lot from this experience.

On Jeetan Patel’s inclusion:

He wasn't there initially. Having three frontline spinners over here we didn't expect to need many more spin options. Then Mark Craig was injured.

For Jeetan to come into the squad after a period of time away from the team is a great opportunity for him. The guys are all looking forward to having him and his experience in this side. He's been a quality performer for a long period of time and it is that like-for-like swap as well.

Jeets loves the game of cricket and loves playing for his country. It was perhaps unexpected. He has played a lot in England lately and almost considers himself a local in that part of the world. There is a number of other players from Wellington in the side who have spent a lot of time with Jeets and they're all very excited about it.

On Martin Guptill’s inclusion for the Kolkata Test:

In the first innings he got off to a good start and was perhaps a bit unfortunate in the second innings, but he has certainly shown his class in the white ball format and we are backing him to show that playing the red ball. He is working hard at his game and looking to improve. It isn't the easiest of places to play sometimes. We'll sit down in the next day or two and look at the side we might go with.

On the improvements needed to be made before the Kolkata Test:

The guys need to recover well. There were a lot of good things to come out of this game for a number of players. It is their first time batting in these sort of conditions. We will be reflecting on lessons learnt and look to apply the skills that worked for a period of time for a lot longer. That's certainly what the Indian players do, it is very important.

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