After a promising start, the Black Caps lost the second test against India by five wickets. The second innings batting came up short, and although the Indians were at times under pressure, that pressure could not be sustained for long enough to win the match.
Given that it was the Black Caps' fourth consecutive test defeat, can this match be described as a "good loss"? It was certainly a step up from the carnage at Hyderabad, not that improving on the first test performance would have been difficult!
But let's look at individual performances. In the first innings, Ross Taylor took the game to the Indians, and scored a terrific test century. Down the order both Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell scored their highest test match scores in the best batting conditions of the match.
When India batted, Tim Southee provided one of the best spells of fast-medium bowling we've seen from a New Zealand bowler for a number of years, especially away from home. Trent Boult has stepped up and seems to be bowling with a bit more pace and aggression. And Jeetan Patel made a successful return to test cricket. It is pleasing to see a New Zealand spinner actually turning the ball, and taking big second innings wickets.
On balance, although we were deeply disappointed that New Zealand lost the second test, we reckon that they can take some positives from the game. They put India under pressure for long periods; just not long enough to deliver the killer blow. Even when India still needed close to a hundred and were five wickets down in the final innings, there was a sniff. However an outstanding partnership from Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni saw the Indians home.
This is a young side, and it should only get better, with a busy next twelve months ahead of it.Here's hoping that there might be some happier days ahead for long-suffering supporters of the New Zealand cricket team.