We had to put in extra effort individually - Goswami
India women's most experienced bowler Jhulan Goswami believes her team succeeded in turning around a 1-2 deficit against New Zealand women after recognising they were not playing the right combination in the early part of the series. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Goswami also credited captain Mithali Raj for leading from the front when the chips were down.
"We were not getting the right combination in the first three matches" Goswami said. "So we decided to stick to the basics. In the first three matches, the openers were not getting a good start, but in the fourth match, the openers gave us a decent start - after that Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj took over, and the wicket was fantastic, it was a truly batting wicket.
"Mithali always takes a challenge. Whenever something is wrong, she comes and leads the team from the front. In this case, the bowlers bowled well, the batters batted well and everyone showed a lot of responsibility and character."
The series started positively for India, who despite being bowled out for 142 in the first ODI, managed to steal a 17-run win. Goswami was the top scorer in that game with 57. However, the team lost the next two games.
"We knew that individually we had to put in an extra effort," she said. "We didn't want them to win on our soil. So, that is when we tried a few combinations that clicked, and we also believed in ourselves, and that is why we came back strong as a team. In the first three games, we were all performing as individuals, but we knew we have to perform as a team"
Goswami was the second highest wicket taker in the series with six wickets. Her economy, 2.39, was the best among the Indian bowlers and she also bowled nine maidens. Goswami stressed on the fact that her bowling good spells with the new ball allowed the spinners to mount more pressure.
"I always enjoy bowling and love to take a lot of challenges," she said. "I love to bowl on a flat wicket. You have to focus the whole time, your margin of area to bowl the right ball is very less. If you give up, the batsman can take over. If I have a good start then the other spinners can come and do their job. In this kind of wicket though, you cannot do much. So we just stuck to the basics and bowled more dot balls to build the pressure."
Although India's top wicket-takers in the series were spinners - Rajeshwari Gayakwad with eight wickets and Harmanpreet Kaur and Ekta Bisht with six each - Goswami believes the team was not overly reliant on spin.
"India is known for its spin attack. There is a turning wicket here and the ball spins," she said. "It was difficult for the medium pacers to bowl in the right areas, as the weather did not support this. They played well, but we have quality spinners on our side and that's our strength. And we like to play to our strengths."
Though India won the series, they lost out on valuable ICC Women's Championship points, and now find themselves at the bottom of the table. They will now play three T20Is against New Zealand in Bangalore starting July 11, and Goswami is keen to see the same approach that gave the team success in the last two ODIs.
"We have to capitalise on the first six overs, because in shorter format games, you cannot predict the results," she said. "One bad over can change the match. We have a couple of changes in our side for this format and we're looking forward to the T20 format. "
Nikhita Sanotra and Tanveer Gogada are multimedia journalists