Mumbai: India did to us what we have done to the other teams around the world, New Zealand stand-in skipper Tom Latham said on Monday after their whopping 372-run defeat against the hosts in the second Test.
After their tail-enders secured a thrilling draw in the Kanpur Test, New Zealand managed just 62 and 167 runs in the final game as India took less than an hour on fourth day morning to walk away with a massive 372-run win — their biggest winning margin at home.
"It's one of those things in cricket where everything you do doesn't tend to work. It's one of those days," Latham, who led the side in the absence of an injured Kane Williamson, said at the post-match interaction.
"It happens in cricket. We have done that to teams at different times around the world. Unfortunately it was our time and things didn't quite unfold the way we would have wanted."
Except the first innings in the Mumbai Test, New Zealand batters showed great character. Latham said they planned to attack the spinners but it did not work.
"Ross (Taylor) obviously had the approach where he wanted to put the bowlers under pressure. As soon as you do that, the sub-continent teams tend to take players from under the bat pretty quickly.
"Unfortunately for Ross, it didn't quite work out for him but I'm sure that was the plan Ross had getting into the innings," he said.
Wily off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was adjudged Player-of-the-Series, was simply unplayable. He used the new ball and old ball with consummate ease to rattle their top-order and finish with 4/34.
Then spin all-rounder Jayant Yadav grabbed a career-best 4/49 to wipe out the Kiwi middle and lower order.
"In these conditions, you can't just allow them to bowl. They are very good. They are very accurate, and they don't give you much to hit.
"For us it was about trying to put a little bit more pressure on them to get a few more fielders away from the bat. Because you know they don't miss that often.
"For us it was about guys having a certain plan and being able to stick to that. If you have a plan and you get out, that's just the game of cricket. It's up to individuals how they approach their innings."
Latham said a bit of discussion happened after they were bowled out for just 62 but that innings was an exception.
"It's something that we talked about with the character in the group and trying to have a presence and try to put in as much effort as you can. We've certainly done that over the last four days. If you take the first innings out of it, then obviously it's a little bit of a different story," he added.
Their batters failed both against the pace and spin attack and Latham said: "I think it's a mixture of everything.
"Over here, you're going to be faced with the seamers with the new ball, as well as you will be challenged with the spinners with the new ball. As cricketers, you're always looking to improve and I'm sure the guys would be looking to do that when they get home at different times."
For New Zealand, Mumbai-born left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel was the only talking point. He finished with match figures of 14/225 for the best match haul in Test cricket for any visiting bowler in India which included a 10-for in the first innings.
In the first Test, it was their opener Will Young who impressed with a resolute 89 off 214 balls, while Indian-origin debutant Ravindra played a steely 18 off 91 balls under fading lights to help them eke out a draw.
"It's their — Ravindra, Young and Ajaz — first time in this part of the world, for them to step up at different times for us, and to make contributions throughout the series was outstanding," Latham said.
"It is great for the depth of New Zealand cricket to have more exposure in these conditions. The more you play in this part of the world, the more you sort of learn and are able to grow your game."
For the reigning World Test champions, it has been a crammed calendar playing the India series less than a week after they lost the T20 World Cup final to Australia in Dubai.
Asked if the fatigue factor contributed to their loss, he said: "Different guys have been away from home for different periods of time."
"The T20 guys have been away from home for a long time. But it's part of our job in International cricket and that's what we need to do."
They have slumped to sixth place just ahead of laggards Bangladesh in the 2021-23 cycle. New Zealand will now play two Tests against Bangladesh at home.
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