Shreyas Iyer kicked off his Test career in style by becoming the first Indian to score a century and half-century on debut but felt a victory over New Zealand in Kanpur would have doubled his joy. The first Test at the Green Park Stadium ended in a thrilling draw on Monday with the Kiwi last-wicket pair of Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel holding firm for 8.4 overs.
“It’s a great feeling to have scored a hundred and a fifty in my debut Test match. It would have been the icing on the cake if we had won the game,” he said at the post-match presentation.
“We played good cricket. My mindset was to play session by session and many balls. I was focused on my natural game and the situation required me to bat long, so I kept playing according to the situation,” said Iyer, who raised a crucial 121-run fifth-wicket partnership with Ravindra Jadeja in the first innings and then lifted India from 51/5 in the second innings by raising 52 runs for the sixth wicket with R Ashwin and 64 runs for the seventh with Wriddhiman Saha.
The 26-year-old Mumbai player, named Player of the Match, said: “I am really proud the way we turned our position in the second innings in the game. We made use of the conditions even though the pressure was there.”
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane praised Iyer.
“He (Iyer) batted well in both the innings and played his part very nicely. Iyer’s first class record speaks about his strength. I am sure he will continue to bat well for the side,” he said.
Rahane bemoaned not being able to complete victory. “I did everything to win the match. Our bowlers bowled well in the second innings too. We wanted to bowl at least 5-6 overs last evening after declaring the innings, but bad light cut short our plan.”
On changes in the side for the second Test, especially after skipper Virat Kohli joins the team, Rahane said the team management would take a call.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was happy how the tail-enders batted in the end and drew the game.
“We played some wonderful cricket here and the way our batters Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel played at the end was great to watch,” Williamson said. Ravindra played 91 deliveries to stay unbeaten on 18 while Patel scored two off 23 deliveries.
“It was touch and go. We hung in there and we knew that things were going to be thrilling in the second innings. But we fought hard and it’s a fantastic experience for us.
“Crowd here was fantastic. We made our decision on our fast-bowling combination and both Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson did well in these conditions. India have always been a strong side on home turf, but we put our best foot forward and I am happy that we could draw the game in a thriller.”