'We missed our lengths a little bit' - Williamson
After New Zealand had plummeted to another low score following their demolition for 105 in the second innings of the first Test, Kane Williamson said conditions had been difficult for batting, and India's bowlers had used them well. Shikhar Dhawan built on the bowlers' performance with an aggressive half-century, and Williamson admitted New Zealand could have bowled better to the Indian top order.
"I think we missed our lengths a little bit," Williamson said after India had racked up 100 for 2 by stumps. "I think on a surface like that, with the total we had, there is a lot of pressure on our bowling attack to be disciplined enough to put the ball in the area for long enough. We missed a little bit but saying that, there still are some runs on the board and we have to come back tomorrow and bowl better."
When asked if the two sides had also batted differently against the new ball, Williamson said it had been very hard for the batsmen in the first session with the ball moving and bouncing like it did. "They are a very different team with different players, so naturally there are differences in your game plan but I have no doubt that batting first on that track was tough," he said. "I guess I saw it first-hand how tough it was. You never felt in on it.
"It's one of those situations where you know that you probably have got a ball with your name on it. That's the nature of the surface. We ended up looking to be positive and runs were more important than time, we felt. As you have seen today, the game is quite a long way developed. And I think if we could pick up those runs which I think we did - I think the approach was good from us after losing those early wickets and being in trouble. It was tough but I guess you just have to accept it and move on and know that it is going to be tough."
New Zealand had also been asked to bat by West Indies in the previous Test at Basin Reserve, but had scored 441 amid indisciplined bowling by the visitors. Williamson said the Indian bowlers had done better.
"I mean they bowled very well as well," he said. "They sort of picked up where they left off in Auckland. Credit goes to their bowling attack but it would have been nice to scrape a few more but saying that, there's still plenty in the wicket, so if we bowl well, we can restrict them.
"I think looking at it, you probably expected it to be tough. We played on a green one before against West Indies, as green, but they didn't bowl as well as the Indian side, they bowled very short. It was hard to compare but yes, it was tough, the nature of the surface, the quality of bowling. It sort of seamed around a bit and they got the ball to swing nicely. It was a good challenge for the batting unit and we will have to try and apply that same pressure with the ball tomorrow."
India seemed set to end the day only one down as Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara put on 87 for the second wicket but Trent Boult gave New Zealand some late cheer when he trapped the latter in front towards the end. Williamson said this showed there was still enough assistance for the bowlers. "Naturally, there is probably less and less as the game develops but there is still plenty there and we showed that the ball is still swinging even after how many overs. There is still that threat there if the boys can put it in the right areas for long enough."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo