New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 3rd day February 8, 2014

'No panic, NZ stay confident'- Wagner


Two quick wickets will bring us back - 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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • raj on February 9, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Every time games come into a balance situation, India tends to give in. We have seen this time and again. With Jadeja and Dhoni after 86 overs, the game is nearly in the balance. If these two can bat to 95 overs, India will win!? But as always, I have a feeling one of them will fall shortly.

  • raj on February 9, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Jadeja and Dhoni are doing the right thing. India's best hope is to attack - The rate they are scoring, they only need to survive 10 or so overs and India will be close to victory!! It is not a high percentage chance but the best chance they have. No point trying to survive and be a sitting duck!

  • raj on February 9, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    If Dhoni comes out timid, after tea, poking and prodding then India are gone! He has to attack with a bit of caution. India can't go into a shell. Just as I write this, Rohit has hung his bat out first ball after tea. I think that Rehane decision was crucial.

  • Ashok on February 9, 2014, 0:35 GMT

    At Lunch on Day 4, the match is well poised. It could go either way. There is not much in the pitch to bother either Kohli or Dhawan. They need to continue in the same disciplined batting & build a good partnership to push India closer to the target with each advancing over. The spin bowlers were handled well by both batsmen. Wagner was trying all sort of Rubbish with short balls over the head- "wide & wild". If he continues in the same vein, Indian batsmen will be happy to watch the balls like "flying saucers"- harmless product of frustration! Mind you Steyn, Morkel & Philander tried similar stuff too - unsuccessfully. I do hope Kohli & Dhawan continue their disciplined batting to frustrate Wagner & CO. "Tire them & punish them when they are tired" theme worked perfectly vs. SA. Why not against NZ? Let us go, India!

  • Par on February 8, 2014, 21:16 GMT

    @ Shane bond, some of the comments you are responding to are coming from people who are waiting for IPL "the greatest sporting spectacle in history" to start. They have no idea what test cricket is and what a perfectly normal press conference talk it has been from Wagner (he just said, by test standards there are enough runs on board, new day, new beginning thats all). But these people wont understand that @Cptmeanster of the predictions fame. "we will beat everyone 5-0" and then disappearing from the scene !! Shane B did not say he is the famed cricketer, its people here who assumed so.

  • Android on February 8, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    @Chandrasekaran I said I appreciated India's effort. I didn't compare tests and odi's. But what caught me off guard was brag of 200/1 and "we'll se what wagner does." Every paceman talks, and he didn't say he'll run through India next day. He too said what you said "Just positiveness."

  • Jay on February 8, 2014, 19:32 GMT

    @Shane Bond: It's funny to see many people here think you are the REAL Shane Bond. I know you are not and that reflects in your comments directed at the Indian team and its supporters. You may be a fan of Shane Bond, I will give you that.

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    @shane bond - Can't believe being a professional cricketer you are comparing One day with Tests. That's all I can say. I fully agree India lost 4-0 in ODIs. If a team who made 503 in first innings folded for 105 in the second innings, why can't a team who made 202 in the first innings can make 400+ in the second innings? Just you need positive approach.

  • Jay on February 8, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    As an Indian supporter, I can say that NZ are in the driver's seat. However their bowlers are too dependent on the pitch conditions. No offence, but they looked ordinary in the final session yesterday. Murali Vijay got out in an unfortunate way otherwise India could have been no wickets down. The pitch has slowed down and is dry. It resembles an Indian pitch now and will help India immensely. NZ will have a problem if they don't pick up early wickets first up tomorrow cause India have the batting to upstage this total.

  • Rahul on February 8, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Just one word, complacency which was shown by New Zealand batsmen. But remember this is a game of cricket and has a habit of coming back and biting on your back side spectacularly.

  • No featured comments at the moment.