Former India batsman VVS Laxman feels Virat Kohli's defensive tactics in the morning session on Day 3 of the opening Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington could have cost India the match.
VVS was disappointed to see India allow the opposition tailenders break free and add crucial runs.
Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma struck early on day three and when India took the new ball as New Zealand crossed the 250-run mark, the visitors looked set to bowl the hosts out.
What could have been just a lead of 100 runs was stretched to 183, thanks to Colin de Grandhomme 43(74), debutant Kyle Jamieson 44(45) and Trent Boult 38(24). The tailenders were severe on the Indian bowlers, especially Jamieson on Ashwin.
"After getting Tim Southee's wicket, India let off New Zealand, at one stage it seemed they would not get even 100 runs lead but the partnership between Jamieson and Colin de Grandhomme got them to 183 runs lead. India will be ruing the fact that they were very defensive. The tactics used by Virat Kohli were not right, especially when the second new ball was in operation," Laxman said.
From 225/7, the last three wickets cost India 123 runs which extended BlackCaps' lead to 183.
Jamieson ensured that his debut was not only made memorable with the ball. Playing in place of New Zealand's star paceman Neil Wagner, the towering cricketer also showed he can bat and gave the selectors more reason to consider him as a serious talent for the future.
The 25-year old Aucklander, who took four wickets in the first innings, further turned heads with his knock of 44 from 45 balls which included four massive sixes and a four to help New Zealand take a 183-run lead which at one point looked tough.
Jamieson added 71 runs for the eighth wicket with de Grandhomme in under 15 overs.
Jamieson took a liking to Ravichandran Ashwin, who took two wickets but copped a lot of stick from the tail-enders including Trent Boult casting doubts on whether he should have been played at all ahead of Ravindra Jadeja who is more than handy with the bat which India needed going by their first essay performance.
The visitors were shot out for 165. On Sunday, New Zealand were bowled out for 348 but Ashwin leaked important runs in the end..
Ashwin conceded a total of 99 runs, the highest among India's four bowlers used.India skipper Virat Kohli brought Ashwin four overs after the new ball was taken, in the 85th, but the move did not work as the experienced campaigner was taken for runs.
The 45-year-old also came down hard on Kohli for his field placements.
"I feel that the field settings by Virat Kohli was not right for the situation, especially with the new ball. Because when you are playing in overseas conditions, the new ball has a massive impact. In four overs he brought on Ravichandran Ashwin, I mean you have 3 quality fast bowlers you expect them to bowl at the tail. Virat Kohli missed a trick and this can cost India the Test match," added Laxman.
On a wicket which has little assistance for spin, it also came to mind whether gun-quick Navdeep Saini could have been played to add more teeth to India's bowling battery.
With Agency Inputs