Wellington: New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling admitted that a long, hard battle lies ahead of their batsmen in the second Test against India after the visitors took a formidable 246-run first innings lead, riding on Ajinkya Rahane's maiden Test ton here on Sunday.
"It was not really an ideal day for us. We got ourselves into situations where, if we had taken another wicket or two, we could have been chasing 100 or 150. Obviously, it was a disappointing result in the end but we have still got three days to grind it out here. The pitch is definitely looking a lot better to bat on," Watling said at the end of second day's play. (Day 2 report)
"Credit must go to their batsmen. (Shikhar) Dhawan obviously played really well at the top and got them off to a good start and (Ajinkya) Rahane's hundred was pretty good. He played very well. Then, (MS) Dhoni's counter-attack hurt us and that partnership was probably the difference between an okay day and a good day for them. If we had taken a wicket there, we could have been right in the hunt," Watling added, summing up the day for the two teams. (Also read: Rahane thanks Sachin, Rahul)
New Zealand finished at 24 for one, still needing 223 runs to make India bat again.
How the pitch behaves over the next three days will be vital to their chances of preventing India from squaring this series. "The wicket has definitely improved. On day one, it was pretty green and doing a bit. Today, there was still enough in it for the bowlers but it has browned off and looks a pretty decent batting track now. We are looking forward to getting out there and taking on the challenge and trying to bat for a long time as a group," he insisted.
When asked out particularly, if batting for two days will be good enough to save the match for them, Watling replied, "It's going to be a huge challenge. We are going to have to bat long here to get ourselves back in the game."
"(Ishant) Sharma is bowling really well, so is (Mohammad) Shami and Zaheer (Khan) is an experienced bowler. He will hit some good areas too, so we got to soak it up in the morning for an hour and then bat for a long time. But I don't think there are too many demons in the wicket at the moment, and it should be at its best tomorrow," he said.
Watling said it's an opportunity for their batsmen to step up and fight back on day three.
"There is still good attitude in the dressing room. The bowlers ran in hard today and bowled well and we appreciated their effort. Now, it's an opportunity for the batsmen to try and grind out as many runs as they can and bat for a long time. We know what's ahead of us and now it's time to try and push back," he signed off.