Virat Kohli looked dejected after India suffered only their fourth whitewash in a series of three or more ODIs.* It was a first for Kohli, too, as Indian captain. However, Kohli admitted that India did not deserve to win and New Zealand did because the hosts showed better "composure under pressure".
After losing T20 series 5-0, New Zealand bounced back strongly, winning the each of the three ODIs convincingly. In Hamilton, Ross Taylor and stand-in captain Tom Latham chased down a record target to surprise Kohli's men. In Auckland, chasing 274, India's batsmen struggled and fell short by 22 runs. And on Tuesday, New Zealand won with just under three overs to spare in a chase of 297. Poor fielding and bowling were two areas Kohli pointed at after the loss.
"The games are not as bad as the scoreline suggests," Kohli said to the host broadcaster during the post-match presentation. "The first game, we were pretty much in the contest. Again, it boils down to the chances we didn't grab. And all three games, I thought, the way we fielded and the composure with the ball - I don't think that was enough to win games of cricket at the international level.
"With the ball we were not able to make enough breakthroughs. And in the field as well, we were not good at all. So didn't deserve to be on the winning side at all in the series. Haven't played so badly, but if you don't grab your chances at this level then teams are going to hurt you."
With India's regular openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan injured, India brought in Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw to the top of the order. Although Shaw got starts in all the three matches, he could not convert them into bigger scores. Mayank got 32 in the first ODI, but followed up with single digit scores. Pressure mounted for India after Kohli failed in the last two ODIs with single digit scores.
"We played really well in the T20 series, a bit more experience there. Here in the ODIs a couple of new guys still finding their feet at the international level, so a good experience for them (Agarwal and Shaw).
"Obviously New Zealand was keen to come back and get few wins under their belt after the T20 series and they played with a lot more intensity than we did. And in the crunch moments they were better in the field, better with the ball and better with the bat as well. We didn't deserve to win because of the way we did not show enough composure under pressure and New Zealand did so. They deservedly won three-nil."
The results on this tour are an inversion of India's tour last year, when they won the five-match ODI series but lost in three match T20I series. This tour, however, will end with a Test series - something that will have as much significance as the ODI World Cup did last year and the T20 World Cup does this year, because it falls under the World Test Championship.
"Very, very excited," Kohli said about the upcoming series. "I think because of the Championship, every Test match has that much more importance. As I said, Test cricket, T20 cricket - there's so many things to look forward to this year and the next year as well. We're very excited for the Test series now. We have a really good and balanced team in Test cricket and we definitely feel that we can win the series here. We have that kind of team, but we obviously need to step onto the park in the right kind of mindset."
*13.00GMT, February 11: The piece had incorrectly stated that this was India's third whitewash in an ODI series of three games or more. This has been corrected.