People are always looking to celebrate a win or criticise a defeat, but to us players, a draw such as the one earned in Napier, is a very satisfying result. To follow-on more than 300 behind and bat the opposition out takes some effort.
This is a team that has got used to slugging it out. But just as Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was this side. The foundation was duly laid and is being built on nicely. You would notice that the base, the core of the team, is the same with people like Sachin, Rahul, Sehwag, VVS, Bhajji and Zak still playing a big part. Even MS has been around for a few years now. What has helped is the infusion of fresh blood — Ishant and Gautam.
A better pitch would have made the second Test better. You need the wicket to change a bit over five days to pose more challenge. The Kiwis had two good spinners but they didn't turn a single ball. This pitch was just too easy for the batsmen.
But when it was so easy to bat on, why did we collapse in the first innings? When you are up against a score of over 600, the sheer pressure induces mistakes. Yes, a couple of shots could have been avoided but then the rest of the time, you have to give credit to their bowlers who bowled a splendid line right through the Indian first innings.
Which is what makes the second innings fightback that much more satisfying. Gautam was exemplary in that he curbed his natural aggression and buckled down to the task. Sachin and Rahul chipped in by consuming some time and adding valuable runs.
As for VVS, we expect him to come up with such knocks. He has delivered time and again when it matters. All in all, a great team effort. As for me, now I'll have to dig out my travel gear all over again. I thought my touring days were over but now with the IPL in SA, my travelling days are back.