We could have turned the game: McCullum

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/n/nzcricket.jpg' class='caption'> Stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum feels Sunday's loss to India could have been avoided if Jesse Ryder and he had stayed in the middle for another 10 overs.

Updated: March 08, 2009 12:36 IST
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Stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum feels Sunday's loss to India could have been avoided if Jesse Ryder and he had stayed in the middle for another 10 overs in the hosts' gallant run chase.

McCullum (71) and Ryder (105) put on 166 for the opening wicket to set the platform for the huge run chase after India posted a mammonth 392 for four in their alloted 50 overs.

However, inspite of the majestic start, the Kiwis could only manage 334 in 45.1 overs, thereby handing India a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, but not before giving the tourists a scare at the start and at the end of their innings.

"We knew we had to get off to a good start. Once Jesse (Ryder) and I put on 100, it started to seem if we could put another 100 on top of that and we would have a chance. But it wasn't to be," McCullum said after a 58-run loss in the third one-dayer.

"A couple of run-outs is always frustrating. If Jesse and I had been going on for another 10 overs, the game may have panned out a little bit differently. You had to be aggressive from ball one, but we weren't accurate enough with the bat in those middle stages," rued McCullum, who led New Zealand in the absence of captain Daniel Vettori.

Vettori missed the match to be with his pregnant wife for the birth of the couple's first child.

McCullum also defended his decision to field first on a batsmen's paradise, saying he had hoped initially the wicket would assist the fast bowlers.

"From our perspective we are strong chaser, so I thought the wicket may prove some assistance early on. The way they batted was amazing," he said.

He also came hard on the Kiwi bowlers and said his bowlers sans Vettori struggled to restrain the Indian batsmen. "We didn't bowl well early on. But with the quality of players they have it was tough to contain them. We gave ourselves an opportunity with the bat at the start. But it was frustrating to lose so many wickets in a quick succession," the wicket-keeper batsman said.

"It would have been nice to have Dan's (Vettori) 10 overs. And to lose five overs of Ian Butler was worse. Dan s played 240 games. It would have been great to have him out there. It would have helped," he said.

"They were lost and uncertain about how they were going to restrict their aggression. The small boundaries were always a factor. As a bowler, you know if you get it slightly wrong, you will disappear. That obviously plays on the mind. We weren't accurate enough in areas that we needed to be."

The defeat apart, McCullum said he had enjoyed the experience of leading the side. "It is obviously disappointing to lose and give away as many runs as we did. But I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunity."

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