WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The sour taste of a 10-wicket loss to New Zealand in the first test had been a good lesson for India’s cricketers and there was no doubt they would be far more competitive in the second in Christchurch, coach Ravi Shastri said.
The visitors had won their previous seven International Cricket Council World Test Championship matches to lead the standings on 360 points before they were hammered at the Basin Reserve.
Shastri, however, said his side had learned a lot about how New Zealand would bowl to them at Hagley Oval when the game starts on Saturday and the sting of defeat was on their minds as they look to level the two-match series.
“We were outplayed in the first test but I always believe that a shake-up like that is good. It opens your mindset,” Shastri told reporters in Christchurch on Friday.
“If you have not tasted defeat you can have a closed or fixed mindset. Here, when you see what has happened, it is good, it gives you opportunities to learn.
“You know what New Zealand are doing and what to expect. It’s a good lesson and the boys are up for the challenge.”
Shastri did not confirm the playing XI on Friday but hinted there was some debate over whether Ravindra Jadeja or Ravichandran Ashwin would occupy the spinning all-rounder spot in the side.
A final decision would be made just before the toss on Saturday, although Shastri said that Ashwin’s batting had slipped.
The off-spinner, who has four test centuries along with his 365 wickets, has not passed 50 since Aug. 2017 and has scored a total of 126 runs in his last 10 matches.
“He is a world class bowler,” Shastri said. “There is absolutely no doubt about it. But ... he will be disappointed in the way he has batted and he will need to improve that.”
New Zealand pace bowler Trent Boult, who was eyeing a green Hagley Oval wicket on Friday, said the Indians would definitely have learned and adapted after the hosts bogged them down in Wellington.
Boult and his new ball partner Tim Southee took 14 of the 20 wickets to fall in Wellington and will welcome back Neil Wagner after he missed the first game to attend the birth of his first child.
“We’re definitely expecting them to adapt pretty quickly and be positive coming into this test match. Their records speak for themselves,” Boult said.
“They’re number one in the world for a reason and that’s solely because they can adapt to any conditions.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; editing by Richard Pullin