Napier:New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori does not regret the decision of enforcing follow on even though it didn't pay off in the end with India forcing a draw in the second cricket Test in Napier.
Defending the decision that made the Kiwi bowlers operate for six long sessions spread over three days without much success, Vettori said he wanted to maintain the pressure on the Indian batsmen after bowling them out for 305 in the first innings.
"The situation was that we had rolled them pretty quickly and had 17 overs to put them under a lot of pressure and I wanted to run with that," Vettori said.
"We got the crucial wicket of (Virender) Sehwag but from then on India batted resolutely throughout the whole next two days. I have no regrets with the decision (to enforce follow-on)," the Kiwi captain said.
Looking back, Vettori felt the result could have gone in his team's favour had they been able to take a couple of early Indian wickets on Monday.
"We needed a couple of early wickets and I suppose when we got (Gautam) Gambhir and the third new ball came along there was another opportunity but Yuvraj (Singh) and (VVS) Laxman saw India through that period and once it was gone it was probably out of our reach," Vettori explained.
Vettori also lavished praise on Gambhir, his Delhi Daredevils teammate in the Indian Premier League, for batting nearly 11 hours to lead India's resurgence with a stellar ton. "He did what India required of him. He batted for long periods of time and India needed to do that to save the Test match and you couldn't really ask for too much more from him," Vettori said.
Gambhir got a reprieve when Iain O'Brien dropped him today and asked if he thought the match was gone then, Vettori said, "I thought, when Jeets got Gambhir out, we had an opportunity with the third new ball with Chris (Martin) bowling as well as he did. Once that period was gone it was the defining moment for us when the Test match was gone." According to him, New Zealand could still win after Sachin Tendulkar departed.
"He looked the most comfortable of the Indian batsmen and played some shots and put us back under pressure whereas the other Indian batsmen looked to defend and soak up time. When Tendulkar was dismissed there was a good spirit in the team but I suppose the wicket got the better of us in the end," he said.