Watling relishes game-changing grind
Individual milestones, team milestones, partnership records. Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling were ticking them off so often it seemed that a round of applause rang out at the Basin Reserve as soon as the previous one had ended. While the announcer was regularly keeping the batsmen aware of what they were achieving, Watling said he and McCullum just focused on coming through the next delivery and the next over for the eight-and-a-half hours their 352-run partnership lasted.
"It was just a grind. Just took each ball at a time, each over at a time, each hour at a time," Watling said. "They came at us hard and we weathered the storm, then got a few runs away and just kept trying to take them as deep as we could. To lose one wicket (in the day) is a pretty pleasing effort. Definitely very proud of the way we went about things today. I think Brendon batted extremely well and to be in the position we are now after two days ago, we are pretty pleased with how things went."
Watling came in at No 7 to join his captain after lunch on day three when New Zealand were still trailing by 152. They were feeling the pressure at that time, Watling said, and just wanted to somehow get a partnership started.
"Yesterday was pretty much bat through the day and try and fight our way back into the game," Watling said. "Today was pretty much the same. The first hour was crucial. If we managed to not lose a wicket there, we felt we could kick on and try and keep going. Each session that started was just about starting again and keeping the partnership going and get as many runs and take as much time out of the game as possible."
Watling said he and McCullum spoke about staying focused and extending India as much as they could. "We have got different types of style of play. We just kept batting, trying to take each ball at a time. That was just about it, really. MS (Dhoni) came to bowl at the end and that's niggly, to say the least, but it was just about seeing each over off and trying to get to that new ball and keep building the lead.
"Some of their bowlers bowled 40 overs. The more tired they got, the more runs we could get, or more bad balls they bowled and we started to put a bit more of a lead on the board."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo