Santner: 'We are reasonably happy with our efforts'

New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner spoke about his first day of Test cricket in India, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay’s second-wicket partnership, his strategy among other things.

New Zealand's Mitchell Santner attempts to stop the ball.   -  REUTERS

Mitchell Santner had a good outing in India the last time he visited the country. He finished as New Zealand’s leading wicket-taker in the World Twenty20. He wrecked India with a four-wicket haul to start New Zealand’s campaign. But today was a Test. On a humid day against some good players of spin, Santner picked three wickets that helped his team have the upper hand after the first day against India.

The slow left arm bowler spoke about his first day of Test cricket in India, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay’s second-wicket partnership, his strategy among other things.



Excerpts

On the difficulties of bowling in humid conditions

Yeah. It was key to keep it dry. It would affect the spinners and the reverse swing in the later stages of the game. So, we tried keeping our hands as dry as we could.



On the plan behind breaking partnerships of Cheteshwar Pujara-Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma

They batted well. Both Pujara and Vijay were quite positive. They had a plan against the spinners and they rotated the strike well. But we didn’t try anything different. We tried bowling in the good areas to build pressure and tried getting wickets. It didn’t spin early on but 291/9… not too bad.



On bowling in India for the first time (in Tests)

The heat was something that I got used to after the warm-up games and the training. Pujara, Vijay and Ashwin played really well. They tried to make us pull back the length. I suppose it’s a new experience I guess over here.



On the fourth innings total

There is a lot of cricket to be played. First things first, get this last wicket early tomorrow and bat well, build partnerships. I don't think we are looking too far ahead in terms of chasing the fourth innings score at the moment. Get through day by day and go from there.



On the day’s key moments

They got off to a great start, 100 for one, I think. Good partnership between Pujara and Vijay. The wicket of Kohli was a big wicket but down to (Ravindra) Jadeja at nine they have got a very good batting line-up. So every wicket we got was pretty crucial in terms of taking the game away from you. But I guess there were a couple of key moments but we stuck to our plans reasonably well...to be in not a bad position.



On your plan on this wicket

I mean with the nature of the wicket, if it was turning it was turning very slow. It was a case of finding your length early and going from there. It's about trying to find a pace which is suitable for this wicket. Mark Craig bowled really well. As three spinners we are reasonably happy with our efforts.



On the strategy of spinners on this wicket

It depends on the batsmen and the conditions. If it is turning slow then you have to beat the bat at a reasonable pace. Today Mark showed being at a faster pace is probably good on this surface but the key for a spinner is to mix up the pace as well. It might change later on in the innings but today definitely that faster pace was more beneficial.



On batsmen using their feet

If the batsmen use their feet well then it does take you off your length a little bit and Vijay and Pujara played really well using their feet. They were able to access gaps while coming down the track. You might pull your length back but then he gets right back in his crease and cutting as well. He played very well today. It's a case of you can see it coming but if you bowl at that fast pace then it is quite hard to play. You just got to be patient.