'No panic, NZ stay confident'- Wagner
Neil Wagner has said there was no panic in the New Zealand ranks after the hosts were bowled out for 105, stating that they were happy with the eventual 400-plus target they had set India, and confident of getting the remaining nine wickets.
"Coming into the change room, we were very positive. Even though we lost a couple of quick wickets earlier, there was never really a panic," Wagner said. "I think we weren't worried about the runs. We were still fairly happy with the runs we had on the board. At the start of the game if you had said to us we were going to have a 400-run lead over India, we would have taken it any day.
"Especially with our bowling line-up at the moment and the way the guys have been going, I still think we are very confident and it all depends on that first hour tomorrow, how we start. If we put a lot of pressure on India and get a couple of quick wickets, it's definitely going to set the game up nicely for us. There are still a lot of runs on the board left to get and if we bowl well, we can get the nine wickets if we start off well tomorrow morning."
New Zealand ran through India in the morning, taking the last six wickets in only 16 overs to earn a 301-run lead. But they survived only 41.2 overs with the bat themselves, as India, led by Mohammed Shami's early strikes, rolled them over for 105. Wagner credited India for their fightback, but did not think New Zealand had batted badly.
"It's a bit of a bitter-sweet day. I thought we started off really well with the ball this morning and a great result to get them out for the score we did. Obviously the batting really wasn't ideal stuff but at the end of the day, I think still we are pretty happy at where we are at.
"India bowled very well today. Shami in particular started them off very well. They bowled a better length on that wicket than they did in the first innings, so I think they were very patient and definitely asked very good questions at the start. That's why they got rewards for it. I don't think we batted poorly or badly. I think it's just the nature of the game. Sometimes the bowlers are allowed to bowl well and so they did."
New Zealand could have enforced the follow-on, but Wagner said the side was comfortable with Brendon McCullum's decision to bat again. "Everybody was very happy with that. It's a bit of time for the bowlers to freshen up a little bit, have a quick ice bath and have the legs ready enough for the second innings," he said. "It gave us a little bit of time to get reset and refocus on what we needed to do."
When their chance to bowl came again, Wagner said New Zealand did not begin well. The new ball has been crucial in the first three innings this match, and New Zealand could strike only once with it, but Wagner was hopeful some inconsistent bounce would come into play later.
"I don't think we started ideally like we would have wanted to but to be quite fair, every series so far, we have started really well with the ball, so I think end of the day, the two top-class bowlers in (Trent) Boult and Timmy (Southee), the way they have been performing this whole summer has been outstanding. No doubt tomorrow morning they will come hard.
"I think it has shown today, as soon as the effect of the roller wore off, there was a little bit of inconsistency and bit more pace and bounce in the wicket. That's why I think tomorrow morning will be crucial. Get one, then maybe get two and then get on a bit of a roll like we did in the first innings. I think the key is just to be patient, not go searching too much. We still have got quite a few runs left to play with. If we bowl really well and get two quick wickets, we are definitely in the hunt."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo